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Indonesian volcano erupts

[ 2010-08-30 14:46]     字号 [] [] []  
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A volcano on the Indonesian island of Sumatra erupted for the first time in 400 years on Sunday, spewing a vast cloud of smoke and ash into the air and sending thousands of people fleeing from their homes.

Indonesia issued a red alert after the Sinabung volcano erupted, blanketing the area in thick and acrid black smoke, disaster officials said, although no casualties have yet been reported.

"It's clearly dangerous so we've raised the warning to the highest level, or red level," said Surono, head of the nation's volcano disaster alert center. "From the crater, it shot smoke and volcanic ash 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) into the sky," he said.

The 2,460-meter Sinabung in northern Sumatra has not erupted for more than 400 years but had shown "some volcanic activity" since Friday, Surono said, adding that they were monitoring the situation.

Villagers said they saw lava emerge from the crater around midnight, about 15 minutes before the eruption.

"I saw flames flickering, very red right at the top. Previously there was only smoke," Terkilin Sembiring was quoted as saying by Detikcom news website.

"At the time, we heard a sound like an aircraft flying past. We thought it was a government official's plane but it turned out that the sound came from the volcano," another villager Maslin Pandia was quoted as saying by Kompas.com news website.

Television footage showed black smoke shooting up into the sky and lava overflowing from the crater as residents fled the area in pickup trucks and cars.

More than 18,000 people have been evacuated from several affected villages to towns outside a six-kilometer "danger zone", officials said.


1. When was the last time the Volcano erupted?

2. How high is the Volcano?

3. How many people have been evacuated?


1. 400 years ago.

2. 2,460 meters.

3. 18,000.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Indonesian volcano erupts

About the broadcaster:

Indonesian volcano erupts

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.