A volcano in eastern Indonesia erupted on Sunday, spewing a column of ash as high as 4,000 meters (13,120 feet) into the sky and prompting the evacuation of thousands of people.
Nearly 2,800 people from at least 28 villages were evacuated from the slopes of Mount Ili Lewotolok, which is located on Lembata island of the country’s East Nusa Tenggara province, as the volcano began erupting, Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Raditya Jati said. No deaths or casualties have been reported so far.
The Transportation Ministry said a flight warning had been issued after the eruption and a local airport had been closed as ash rained down on many areas of the island.
Mount Ili Lewotolok has been erupting on and off since October 2017. Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center raised the volcano's alert level to the second-highest level on Sunday after sensors picked up increasing activity.
The 5,423-meter (17,790-foot) mountain is one of three mountains currently erupting in Indonesia after Merapi on Java island and Sinabung on Sumatra island. They are among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines around the Pacific Ocean.
After the eruption, the Disaster Mitigation Agency advised villagers and climbers to stay 4 kilometers (2.4 miles) away from the crater and to be aware of the peril of lava.