Mount Merapi spews thick smoke, officials call for calm as civilians evacuated

Indonesia’s Mount Merapi spewing a thick column of smoke on May 11, 2008. Photo: BPBD Jawa Tengah
Indonesia’s Mount Merapi spewing a thick column of smoke on May 11, 2008. Photo: BPBD Jawa Tengah

Mount Merapi — one of the most active volcanoes in the world — this morning emitted a thick cloud of smoke that officials say is the result of phreatic eruption (the result of magma heating up ground or surface water).

The volcano, located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces, spewed a plume of smoke at around 7:40 am today.

According to a press release by the Central Java Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), the smoke, which measured around 5,500 meters in height, was emitted following around 5 minutes of volcanic rumbling.

PRESS RELEASE ERUPSI FREATIK GUNUNGAPI MERAPI 11 MEI 2018Telah terjadi erupsi Gunungapi Merapi pada tanggal 11 Mei 2018…

Posted by BPBD Provinsi Jawa Tengah on Thursday, May 10, 2018

The BPBD has sent teams of officials to assist in evacuating civilians living within a 5 km radius of the volcano.

“The public is urged to remain calm,” said BPBD Magelang Operations Control Center officer Kristian, as quoted by Kompas.

There is no data yet on the number of evacuees, and, due to the nature of eruption, there have thankfully been no reports of any casualties. BPBD also reported that 120 people who were hiking on the mountain over the past couple of days have been successfully evacuated.

Officials say the smoke is being blown south west from the crater resulting in volcanic ash rain in Kaliurang, Central Java.

The volcanic smoke has not disrupted flights in the area, with Yogyakarta’s Adisutjipto Airport reportedly maintaining normal services.

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