The Sumatra volcano is caused of serious concerns as a total of three volcanoes are currently eruptng at the same time.
The country is located along the geologically active Ring of Fire and is home to about 130 active volcanoes. Three of those have been rumbling and spewing ash this week, including Mounts Sinabung, Gamalama, and Rinjani.
Although no deaths have been reported, airports have been closed and travel has been disrupted, including for those headed for the popular vacation spot Bali. Mount Rinjani is located on Lombok Island near Bali, Sinabung is where the Sumatra volcano is now active, and Gamalama is in the Moluccas chain of islands.
Authorities extended a danger zone around a rumbling volcano in western Indonesia after the Sumatra volcano spewed blistering gas farther than expected, sending panicked residents streaming down the sides of the mountain.
The death toll from a volcanic eruption in western Indonesia has climbed to six, an official said Sunday, with fears more could have been trapped by the hot ash.
Three people also remain in a critical condition after Mount Sinabung, a highly-active volcano on Sumatra island, unleashed a series of eruptions on Saturday afternoon, disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
“Nine people were struck by the hot clouds. Six died, and three others remain critical with burns,” he said, adding the injured had been taken to hospital.
The victims were all farming within the “red zone” – an area four kilometres from Sinabung declared off limits by government authorities for safety reasons – when they were consumed by pyroclastic clouds.
These fast-moving waves of hot gas and rock can reach 700 degrees celsius as they roar down the sides of the volcano, Sutopo said.
Search and rescue teams were carefully scouring homes and farms in Gamber village, where residents were ordered to evacuate in late 2014 due to the unacceptable risk from lava flows, dense ash and falling volcanic rock.
“It is not known exactly how many people were in Gamber village when the hot clouds descended,” he said, adding emergency crews were wary of the risk of further eruptions.
“There shouldn’t have been any public activity [within the red zone].”
Many living in temporary shelters had begun moving back to their farms for economic reasons, despite repeated warnings, he added.
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced since Sinabung rumbled back to life in 2013 after a period of inactivity. The Sumatra volcano is also causing people to flee their homes in fear of being killed.