16 Jun 2015

Threat from Indonesia volcano grows

10:13 am on 16 June 2015

Thousands of people living close to a volcano in Indonesia have been forced to flee their homes after eruptions intensified.

Residents in Kuta Tengah village, Karo, are among thousands who have fled the area after the eruption of the Sinabung volcano.

Residents in Kuta Tengah village, Karo, are among thousands who have fled the area. Photo: AFP

Mount Sinabung, on the island of Sumatra, became active again in 2010.

There has been more activity since 2 June and scientists worry the volcano could pose more dangers in the coming weeks.

More than 3000 people living near its slopes have had to leave.

In February last year, at least 14 people died when pyroclastic flows from Mount Sinabung struck villages.

Mt Sinabung volcano on 14 June 2015.

Photo: AFP

On Monday, there were at least 28 pyroclastic flows - surges of hot ash and gas that rush down the side of the mountain at high speed.

Gede Suantika, an Indonesian government volcanologist, said there were signs a lava dome was growing on Mount Sinabung.

Lava domes are pile-ups of magma near the vent at the top of a volcano, that have been known to collapse and flow down mountain sides at high speed.

The danger alert was raised to its highest level on 2 June. Thousands more people are likely to have to evacuate the area in the coming days, a military commander in Sumatra told AFP.

Before 2010, the volcano had been dormant for more than 400 years.