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Marapi is one of 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia

Photo: Adi Prima / AFP

On the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the Marapi volcano has erupted and spewed an ash cloud about three kilometres high into the sky. The outbreak occurred in the early afternoon, according to local authorities. Initially, there were no reports of casualties or damage. The authorities established a three-kilometer exclusion zone around the crater.

The ash rain had reached the district of Agam in the vicinity of the volcano. There, the sky had temporarily darkened. The residents were asked to stay in their homes.

»Bisnis.com« reported, citing the conservation authority of West Sumatra, that there were 70 hikers on the fire mountain at the time of the eruption. Rescuers are in action to bring them to safety. All hiking trails have been temporarily closed.

According to initial measurements, the 2981,<>-meter-high volcano initially erupted for almost five minutes, said the spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, Abdul Muhari. "Further eruptions are still ongoing," said Hendra Gunawan of the Indonesian Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Prevention (PVMBG). The activity of the Marapi has increased since January, according to the center. Marapi is one of the most active volcanoes in Sumatra.

The island state of Indonesia is located on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, the most geologically active zone on earth. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur more frequently along this belt. There are about 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia.