Java's Merapi volcano erupts

  • 12/05/2018
Java's Merapi volcano.
Java's Merapi volcano. Photo credit: Getty

Indonesian authorities have ordered people living near Java's Merapi volcano to leave their homes and a major city airport has been closed after the 5500-metre peak sent a column of steam and ash into the sky.

Mt Merapi is one of the most active in Indonesia, with a series of eruptions in 2010 killing more than 350 people.

A disaster mitigation agency told residents living within a 5km radius of the mountain to move to shelters, agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement on Friday.

He said that 120 people who had been hiking up Merapi were safe.

The eruption comes as Hawaii's Kilauea volcano continues to release lava, with fears it could be about to blow.

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.

The disaster agency described Merapi's latest eruption as phreatic, which means magma heats up ground water and vapour is released under pressure.

The alert status on Merapi had not be raised, it said.

Reuters / Newshub.