Thousands Flee in Indonesia as Dormant Volcano Erupts

A dormant volcano in the Indonesian island of Sumatra erupted for the first time in 400 years on Sunday, driving more than 18,000 people out of their homes, while also covering several villages with sand, ash, and thick smoke.

Mount Sinabung, located in the regency of Karo in North Sumatra province, had not erupted since 1600, and had been quiet before Sunday’s eruption. Volcanologist Surono said the volcano started acting up as early as Friday. Residents were evacuated immediately after authorities noticed that the volcano had become active. Most of the residents were evacuated to government buildings and house of worships in nearby towns.

Fortunately, the eruption did not cause a lot of damage as lava flow reached only the volcano’s crater, although ash and sand were spewed up to 5,000 feet into the air. The government has provided masks to the evacuees to protect them from the harmful effects of the ash and fumes coming from the volcano.