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Volcano warning

Indonesia raises alert to highest level for Ibu volcano

Indonesia raises alert to highest level for Ibu volcano
The Mount Ibu volcano spewing volcanic materials during an eruption in West Halmahera, North Maluku, Indonesia, 13 May 2024. The volcano released clouds of volcanic ashes to up to 5,000 meters into the air during the eruption, according to an official of the PVMBG. EPA-EFE/PVMBG/HANDOUT

JAKARTA, May 16 (Reuters) - Indonesia's volcanology agency on Thursday raised the alert level of the Ibu volcano to the highest on its scale after recording six eruptions since the weekend.

The agency also warned nearby residents against coming close to the volcano, which is located on the remote island of Halhamera.

Spewing thick columns of grey ash several kilometres into the sky, Ibu has erupted repeatedly since May 11 after activity increased during April, the agency said.

It cautioned residents within a 4 km (2.5 mile) radius to stay clear of the mountain and recommended masks and goggles be worn should there be an ash outpouring.

Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on any evacuation plans.

Ibu’s activities follow a series of eruptions of different volcanoes in Indonesia, which sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” and has 127 active volcanoes.

Flash floods and cold lava flow from Mount Marapi, one of the most active in West Sumatra province, covered several nearby districts following torrential rain on May 11, killing at least 67 people with 20 people still missing.

In recent weeks North Sulawesi’s Ruang volcano has erupted, spewing incandescent lava. The eruption prompted authorities to evacuate more than 12,000 people on a nearby island.

(Reporting by Stanley Widianto and Stefanno Sulaiman; Editing by Martin Petty)

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