The initial blasts sent millions of cubic meters of dust and rocks into the atmosphere, according to the country’s disaster agency, and the noise of the eruption could be heard up to 200 kilometres away.
Ash up to an inch deep covered Surabaya, the country’s second largest city, and even farther afield in Jogyakarta, where motorists were forced to switch on headlights in daylight.
Jogyakarta, Solo and Surabaya airports were closed due to reduced visibility and the dangers posed to aircraft engines by the ash.
Ash thrown 17 km in the air
The country’s disaster agency said tremors were still wracking the volcano, but scientists did not expect another major eruption. Nonetheless, people in Kediri, East Java, were being evacuated from their homes as a precaution.
“Areas to the west of Mount Kelud, including central Java, Yogyakarta, Cilacap, Magelang, Temanggung and Boyolali are still experiencing showers of ash because last night the biggest eruption… threw sand and ash 17km into the air to the west,” National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho told Reuters.
Nugroho said the agency was still trying to confirm reports that two people had died.
“We don’t have data yet on how many people have been evacuated in total. We can say 200,000 people were affected. We received reports of deaths but we have not verified them yet,” he added
Indonesian police distribute face masks to residents on the streets of Malang, East Java province, as volcanic ash covered the city