Sinabung Volcano erupts in Indonesia, forcing evacuations

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Thick plumes of volcanic ash and flowing lava are spewing from Mount Sinabung.

About 2,700 people have been evacuated from the Indonesian island of Sumatra because of the increased volcanic activity in the region during the past two weeks.

Those who have been evacuated are from four villages south and southeast of the volcano’s crater.

BNPB, the national disaster management agency for Indonesia, raised the alert status level for the volcano on Friday.

Earlier in the week, Mount Sinabung’s lava dome, rounded mounds built by thick magma, had increased volume and was unstable, BNPB reported.

Photography student Ahmad Zikri Mohamad Zuki, 23, has been capturing the eruption for the past week on Instagram.
For the past week, he said pyroclastic flows — avalanche-like hot ash, rocks and gas — have been rushing down the sides of Mount Sinabung. These pyroclastic flows can cascade down a volcano as fast as 60 miles per hour. And temperatures can soar above 932 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Zuki, who lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said he was surprised but also excited to see the volcano come to life again. He has been documenting Mount Sinabung’s volcanic activity since 2014.

The country’s government agencies have set up public shelters and kitchens to aid those who have evacuated, and volcanic activity will continue to be monitored by Indonesian authorities.

The Indonesian archipelago consists of more than 13,000 islands and more than 75% of Indonesian residents live within 62 miles of volcanoes that have had some activity during the last century, according to USGS.

By Jareen Imam
CNN’s Deanna Hackney contributed to this story.