JAKARTA, Jan 10 — Indonesia’s Mount Lewotobi Laki-Laki erupted anew today, spewing ash clouds two kilometres (6,561 feet) above its peak as authorities raised the volcano’s alert status to the highest level.

The eruption follows weeks of heightened volcanic activity on the mountain, located on eastern Indonesia’s Flores Island, and prompted the local government to issue an evacuation order for nearby residents.

“The communities are urged to immediately evacuate to safe points to avoid hot ash (from the volcano),” local official Benediktus Bolibapa Herin told AFP today.

Local authorities have established two temporary shelters, which are currently accommodating about 5,000 people, Herin said.

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The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Centre (PVMBG) late yesterday raised Lewotobi Laki-Laki’s alert level to 4 after it was raised to the second-highest level last week and imposed an exclusion zone of four to five kilometres around the crater.

Locals are advised to be on alert for potential flooding as volcanic mudflows pour into rivers, PVMBG head Hendra Gunawan said in a statement.

He added that people should wear masks “to prevent the dangers of volcanic ash to the respiratory system”.

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The Southeast Asian archipelago nation sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of intense volcanic and seismic activity, and has nearly 130 volcanoes.

Indonesian authorities yesterday increased the alert status of Mount Marapi, located on the country’s Sumatra island, to the second-highest level and imposed a 4.5-kilometre exclusion zone from its crater.

A December eruption of Marapi, which means “mountain of fire”, killed 23 people. — AFP