[IN IMAGES] Villages covered in ash after an eruption of the Merapi volcano in Indonesia

[IN PICTURES] Villages covered in ash after an eruption of the Merapi volcano in Indonesia


Indonesia's Mount Merapi, one of the world's most active volcanoes, erupted on Saturday, belching smoke and ash that blanketed villages near the crater. 

No casualties were immediately reported, the Indonesian Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said.

Houses and roads in a village near the volcano were covered in ash, footage from local TV channel Kompas TV showed.

The Merapi Volcano Observatory estimated that the ash cloud reached 3,000 meters above the summit.

Authorities established a seven-kilometre restriction zone around the crater after the eruption, which was recorded at 12:12 p.m. local time (5:12 GMT).

“To anticipate the potential danger of Mount Merapi's eruption, the public is advised to cease all activity in the potential danger zone,” BNPB spokesman Abdul Muhari said in a statement.

Residents in the vicinity should also expect “disturbance” from the ash and be alert to the risk of volcanic mudslides, especially if it rains near the volcano, he said. added.

Yulianto, an officer on duty at one of Merapi's observation posts, said in a statement that at least eight villages near the volcano were affected by volcanic ash.

The level of Merapi volcano alert reached second highest in November 2020, after showing renewed activity.

The last major eruption of this volcano near the city of Jogjakarta killed more than 300 people in 2010 and prompted the evacuation of some 280,000 people.

It was its most violent episode since the 1930 eruption, which killed around 1,300 people. In 1994, another eruption killed around 60 people.

There are nearly 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands and islets located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”.