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Sitting volcano in Gili Islands off Sumatra has sent rocks and ash flying into village, trapping 100 villagers
Mount Agung in Indonesia’s north-east has unleashed the most intense eruption of a two-year-old volcanic eruption that has left at least one person dead and dozens injured, officials say.
Sitting the Sumatran island of Lombok in the Gili Islands off Sumatra, the Agung has now spewed rocks and ash more than 1,700 metres (5,900ft) into the sky.
“We have never seen such an eruption before,” Indonesia’s geological agency chief, Lukman Hakim, told AFP.
Gigi Syahbana, a resident of Dili, one of four villages near the volcano, said: “The eruption was very violent. Everything shook, the walls of our room shook and our windows were rattled. It was so scary.”
Brant McGowan (@brantmcgowan) *SCATTERED ROCKS SPECTACULAR FROM THE SMALLER ROCKS NEAR ME*. #Agung_Sumatra . #balik_jezza “iceland” !”
Info from Gigi Saha #2 #giliislandsphotos_giil” @balikjelaots” https://t.co/4AcBwOa36I pic.twitter.com/3ZXVuK3qsQ
About 50% of Lombok was evacuated after Agung first began rumbling in August, killing 18 people. But until Wednesday the island’s main tourist destination, Gili Trawangan, was untouched by the eruption.
The waters off Lombok and northern Bali, where 250,000 people have already been evacuated, have already been hit by strong tremors from the volcano, causing fishermen to retreat deeper into boats. Indonesia has seen more than 500 tremors from the volcano since Monday.
Two climbers, an Indonesian and a Dane, were killed this week when their way up the slopes of the volcano blocked a crevasse, according to local reports.
Mount Agung: Mount Agung is erupting – all you need to know Read more
Agung last erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,100 people. The volcano is located 120 km (75 miles) north-east of Lombok and close to Gili Trawangan, where the latest evacuations have taken place.
Some residents had to be rescued by helicopter from Dili, a community of about 500 people on an island in about five-km of water. The village centre was rattled by the sound of the eruption and ash was falling on the village.
Ash fallen near a pier on Yogyakarta, the main city on Lombok. Photograph: Binsar Bakkara/AP
“The hole collapsed on them, cutting off the boat from them and forcing them to swim back to shore,” said Isang Suryahbalaya, operations manager at Tirta boat taxi. “The passengers are still inside the boat now and I’m waiting to get them out.”
Nearby shelters were full, though families said they wanted to stay to protect their livestock and collect any uncollected firewood.
Besides Lombok, there is also a volcano on Bali, which was still largely unaffected by Agung, although nine people were injured after a crack in a cliff on the slopes of the Kuta volcano threw up rocks.
In the central Bali town of Karangasem, about 30 schools were closed for Wednesday after students witnessed the violent eruption.
Officials urged those living around volcanoes to stay indoors or in secure shelters, as a remote area deep in the mountains of West Java province has already been isolated by the ash fall.
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