In Indonesia, the eruption of the volcano: evacuation alert

Mount Merapi volcano in Indonesia has erupted

REUTERS ERUPTION Mount Merapi volcano spewed steam and ash into the sky

One of Indonesia's most famous volcanoes - the Merapi volcano that is located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta - erupted on Friday morning (11/05), spewing ash as high as 5,500 meters into the sky.

It was not clear how many residents living around Merapi had left for local shelters, but around 12,000 people live in its immediate vicinity.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said this latest eruption has not altered the alert status of Mount Merapi.

'Residents who live in a radius of 5km from the crater of Merapi is expected to come down and evacuate, ' Edi Danarto of the Quick Reaction Team said.

The airport in Yogyakarta, the nearest big city to the volcano, shut because of the threat from the ash, the state-owned aviation agency AirNav said in a statement.

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The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) has assured that Merapi's status remains "normal", and that the agency would continue to monitor the eruption, Sutopo said.

Mount Merapi has regularly erupted since around 1548.

Pyrolastic flow from a large explosion killed 27 people on November 1994, and another large eruption occurred in 2006.

Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 250 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire", a horseshoe-shaped series of fault lines.

Indonesia has almost 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

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