Jakarta - Indonesian authorities have raised the alert at a volcano on Sulawesi island to the highest level and urged the evacuation of the danger zone, the chief volcanologist said on Monday.
Surono, head of the Centre of Volcanology and Disaster Mitigation, said an alarming rise in the activity of Mount Lokon prompted the decision to declare the red alert on Sunday night. Like many Indonesians he uses only one name.
“We have recommended the local authorities to evacuate the population within the radius of 3 kilometres,” he said.
More than 30 000 people live near the volcano, according to the local government.
The head of the provincial disaster management agency said the government was making preparations for the evacuation, the Tribunnews website reported.
“Let's pray that there won't be an eruption,” Hoyke Makarawung was quoted as saying.
In 1991, a foreign tourist was killed when the volcano erupted.
Another volcano on the same island, Mount Soputan, erupted on July 3, sending ash 5 000 metres into the sky, but there were no casualties.
Indonesia sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area known for its frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. -