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Hundreds flee erupting volcano

MOUNT EGON - Hundreds of Indonesians have fled their homes after a volcano erupted spewing ash and smoke thousands of metres into the air. Breathing masks and clean water have been rushed to the eastern island of Flores where Mount Egon erupted late yesterday. 600 people from a village near the crater have been evacuated. "There are more than 23,000 people in three subdistricts within the danger zone. Initial contacts with the heads of the subdistricts said that many people panicked yesterday evening because the eruption was preceded by earthquakes. But there are no figures available yet (on numbers of evacuated)." Authorities were thrown into confusion by the eruption, which came about 10.15pm. Magma coming into contact with water triggered the eruption.

MOUNT PAPANDAYAN - authorities raised the alert level on the volcano near the country's third largest city. "Since April 16, at 12.00am (1500 AEST), we have upgraded the alert level of (Mount) Papandayan to 'vigilance' (level two)," a statement on the volcanology office's website said. The alert level for the mountain, near the city of Bandung, is now two rungs below that for an impending eruption. Bandung city has a population of three million, while the greater Bandung area is home to about 4.5 million. The mountain had not shown visual signs of activity but measuring equipment indicated an increased frequency of shallow volcanic quakes. Magma in the crater was also increasing steadily.
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