Indonesia's Mt Merapi erupts again, planes urged to avoid volcano area

Mount Merapi releases volcanic material during a phreatic eruption as seen from Cepogo, Boyolali, Central Java, on June 1, 2018.
Mount Merapi releases volcanic material during a phreatic eruption as seen from Cepogo, Boyolali, Central Java, on June 1, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (XINHUA) - Indonesia's most active volcano of Mount Merapi spewed a column of volcanic ash 6 km into the air on Friday (June 1), triggering a top alert notice for passenger planes, a government official said.

Mount Merapi, situated on the border of Yogyakarta and Central Java on Java island, erupted at 8:20am (9:20am Singapore time) with volcanic spreading ash to the west of the crater, spokesman of national disaster management agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

"The red alert of Vona (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) has been issued," he told Xinhua, referring to the highest level alert which forbids planes from passing through the volcano area.

He said people living in the vulnerable zone near the volcano have also been warned to be more alert.

Merapi's previous eruption on May 24 had prompted the authorities to raise the alert to the third highest level, with a no-go zone of 3 km in radius from the crater, according to the agency.

Merapi is located about 28 km north of Yogyakarta city, which has a population of 2.4 million and thousands of people live on the flanks of the volcano.

The volcano, one of Indonesia's 129 active ones, has regularly erupted since 1948. In November 1994, pyroclastic flow from a large eruption killed 27 people, and another major eruption occurred in 2006.