Many evacuated as Indonesian volcano erupts again

Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:22pm GMT

By Tarmizy Harva and Beawiharta

SUKA NALU, Indonesia (Reuters) - An Indonesian volcano, inactive for four centuries, erupted again on Monday, pitching ash two km into the air and sending nearby residents scurrying from their homes.

Villages were emptying fast near Mount Sinabung on the north of Sumatra island, leaving behind only officials from the bureau of meteorology and the police. Short-haul flights skirting the volcano were delayed.

Reuters Television footage showed vast black clouds billowing into the sky, against a background of trees and farmhouses.

A Reuters TV producer said it began raining at around 4 p.m. and that clouds obscuring the 2,460-metre volcano's peak made it difficult to tell if ash was still erupting in the afternoon.

"The air is very foggy and smoky," he said. "There is no one around, only police and officials."

About 21,000 people had been evacuated. Displaced residents, including children wearing masks, milled about in a makeshift reception centre with a roof but no walls.

Satebi Ginting, a vegetable farmer who fled her village to shelter in the nearby town of Brastagi, said she did not know when she would return home.

"I am still too scared to go back," she said in a camp hosting around 400 people, where a band was playing traditional local tunes.   Continued...

<p>Mount Sinabung volcano spews smoke in Suka Nalu village in the district of Tanah Karo, in Indonesia's North Sumatra province August 30, 2010. REUTERS/Tarmizy Harva</p>
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