JAKARTA: Mount Marapi, Sumatra Island’s most active volcano, erupted on Sunday at 2.54 pm local time, releasing ash rain over the Agam district in West Sumatra, prompting authorities to advise people to wear masks.

The country’s volcano monitoring centre, PVMBG, reported that the eruption spewed an ash column containing volcanic material up to three kilometres from the summit crater, accompanied by rumbling sounds.

The increase in volcanic activity on the 2,891 metres high mountain has been ongoing since early this year, and it is at level II alert status.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari, in a statement, stated that there have been no reports of casualties or material losses, and the community’s activities remain unaffected.

According to an official at the Agam disaster operational agency, Ade Setiawan, heavy volcanic ash rain occurred in Nagari Lasi, Canduang sub-district.

“The volcanic ash rain was quite dense and dark, but it has now started to stop,” he added.

Local authorities have advised people to wear masks when leaving their homes, clean their water supplies, and clear thick volcanic ash from the roofs of their homes to prevent damage caused by heavy deposits.

Mount Marapi erupted on Sept 8, 1830, and again on April 30, 1979, causing at least 60 fatalities. It showed increased activity from late 2011 to early 2014, erupting on Feb 26, 2014, releasing volcanic materials into Agam and Tanah Datar.

On Jan 7, 2023, there was another eruption, and some climbers were camping in the vicinity despite warnings not to reach the summit. - Bernama

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