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Images show the spectacle of Indonesia’s volcanic eruption as authorities evacuate seven nearby villages

Indonesian authorities have evacuated residents of seven villages within a nearly four-mile radius of a volcano on Indonesia’s remote island of Halmahera after it erupted and spewed ash about 4 miles into the air.

Reuters reported that Mount Ibu erupted on Saturday evening, turning the sky into a spectacle of gray ash spewing from the volcano’s crater in flashes of purple lightning.

According to a statement from the disaster management agency, a crew consisting of police, military and search and rescue services was sent to the area to evacuate residents from surrounding villages.

The joint team reportedly helped the elderly evacuate the area, while residents were transported out of the area in pickup trucks and taken to emergency tents to spend the night.

The agency did not specify how many people had been moved, although authorities have recommended evacuating a seven-kilometer (4.35-mile) radius.

Officials advised residents and tourists not to undertake activities within five kilometers of Mount Ibu’s crater. INDONESIAN GEOLOGICAL AGENCY/AFP via Getty Images
Mount Ibu spews volcanic ash as lightning strikes. INDONESIAN GEOLOGICAL AGENCY/AFP via Getty Images

Mount Ibu erupted for about five minutes last Monday, just days after it erupted on May 10. The eruptions caused the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation to raise the alert level for the volcano from 2 to 3, which is the second highest level. .

Officials advised residents and tourists not to undertake activities within five kilometers of Mount Ibu’s crater. More than 13,000 people live within a five-kilometer radius of the crater’s north side, said Hendra Gunawan, head of the Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Agency.

Mount Ibu is a 1,200 meter high volcano on the northwest coast of the remote island of Halmahera.

On Thursday, the agency raised the alert level to the highest level after several eruptions. The Booroto via REUTERS

Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million inhabitants, has 120 active volcanoes. It is prone to volcanic activity because it lies along the ‘Ring of Fire’, a horseshoe-shaped series of seismic fault lines around the Pacific Ocean.

On Thursday, the agency raised the alert level to the highest level after several eruptions.

On May 11, flash floods and “cold lava” from Mount Marapi, one of the most active volcanoes in West Sumatra province, flowed into nearby districts after heavy rains, killing more than 60 people.

North Sulawesi’s Ruang volcano also erupted in recent weeks, prompting authorities to evacuate more than 12,000 people from a nearby island.