Some Indonesian airports reopen a day after volcanic eruption kills three

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 February, 2014, 5:07am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 February, 2014, 5:07am


Three airports in Indonesia reopened yesterday while four others remained closed, officials said, after a volcanic eruption killed three people and forced evacuations.

Mount Kelud, considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the main island of Java, spewed red-hot ash and rocks high into the air on Thursday night, just hours after its alert status was raised.

"The airport in Malang city in East Java province, and Cilacap and Semarang cities in Central Java province have reopened. There's no problem flying there now. We are now evaluating the status of other airports," Transport Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said.

Seven airports, including those serving international flights in Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Solo and Bandung, were forced to close on Friday due to thick ash that had blanketed eastern Javanese cities.

Villagers in eastern Java described the terror of witnessing volcanic material rain down on their homes, while residents covered in grey dust fled in cars and on motorbikes towards evacuation centres.

The volcano shot grey smoke 3,000 metres into the sky yesterday, a National Disaster Management Agency spokesman said. He added that volcanic activity had shown a "slowing trend".

Around 200,000 people were ordered to evacuate following the eruption. Some families ignored the orders and others have returned to their homes. About 75,000 are now in shelters.