The biggest eruption by Indonesia’s Mount Merapi since the volcano began rumbling last week has forced the authorities to move emergency shelters further away.
Life in the affected areas on Java island has been severely disrupted.
There has been no word on new casualties as most villagers had already left their homes. Last week the volcano killed at least 38 people.
“Since yesterday afternoon, Mount Merapi has been spewing ash and clouds up to six and a half kilometres high,” said Dr R Sukhyar, head of Indonesia’s Geological Agency. “It’s also throwing out debris and large materials which have landed nearby.”
The energy from the latest eruption was three times greater than the one last week. Residents who had taken events in their stride are thinking again.
“I’m a bit worried about the situation. I have been going back to my house in the mornings to check on my livestock, but now I’m afraid,” said Toto, who lives in a village in the danger zone.
Lava has reportedly started flowing into rivers on the volcano’s lower slopes.
Soldiers have been deployed to make sure people leave their homes. Emergency shelters are struggling to cope with more than 70,000 evacuees.