Volcanic eruption shuts down airport in Indonesia, blankets area in ash

Mount Gamalama, a volcano located Indonesia’s North Maluku province, erupted on Sunday at 23:00 local time, according to reports. The volcano’s eruption blanketed nearby villages with thick ash and forced the closure of a local airport.

Fortunately, there are currently no reports of any structural damages or fatalities as the result of Mount Gamalama’s eruption. According to state vulcanologist Surono, who only goes by one name, slow moving lava was visible at the volcano’s peak.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of Indonesia’s National Agency of Disaster Management said in a statement that people living in close proximity to the foot of the volcano have evacuated to higher ground, Xinhua reports.

Government officials urge citizens near the volcano to stay calm. “The Regional Agency of Disaster Mitigation (BPBD) of North Maluku province keeps coordinating with related institutions for emergency handling. It keeps monitoring and recording (the situation),” said Nugroho.

Mount Gamalama is one of Indonesia’s nearly 500 volcanoes, 128 of which are still active with 65 being listed as “dangerous”. The last recorded eruption of Mount Gamalama occurred in 2003.

via Associated Press