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Volcano erupts in Indonesia, forcing thousands to relocate

Indonesian volcano forces thousands to evacuate

Sunday, June 1, 2014, 10:36 AM -

A volcano erupted in Indonesia on Friday filling the sky with a giant ash cloud.

While no deaths have been reported, 14 people are missing and more than 3000 were evacuated. Mount Sangeang Api erupted faster than predicted and in the middle of the night catching thousands of residents off guard. While the island is mostly uninhabited there are farming communities around the volcano.

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The plume of ash grounded flights from Indonesia and Australia. About thirty flights were cancelled out of Darwin, Australia and several more were cancelled out of the nearby Perth.

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin said on Sunday that the cloud was beginning to thin out and flights would resume out of the affected airports.

Sangeang Api is a complex volcano with two volcanic cones. It first showed activity in the 1500s and has erupted several times since then, including a couple of times in the '90s. Since June 2013, officials placed the volcano on high alert. Indonesia is home to more than 100 volcanoes and sits on the Ring of Fire, an area with a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in the basic of the Pacific Ocean.

In February, tens of thousands were forced to leave their homes when a volcano erupted in east Java.

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