Merapi erupts, Surakarta airport closed

Early today, the eruption sent a 6,000-metre column of ash into the skies.


Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Adi Soemarmo International Airport in Surakarta, Central Java, has been temporarily closed following the eruption of Mount Merapi (pictured). At least six flights have been cancelled so far.

The volcano erupted in the early hours of Tuesday, spewing a 6,000-metre column of ash, according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

The Transportation Ministry’s air transportation director general, Novie Riyanto, said in a statement that the ministry would continue to monitor the activity of Mount Merapi to ensure aviation safety.

“We will keep observing the latest developments. As for the impact on aviation, so far only [Adi Soemarmo International Airport] in Surakarta is affected; it has since been closed down,” Novie said.

“We have re-routed several flights to regions that have yet to be affected by the eruption,” he added.

Volcanic ash from the eruption covered parts of the airport's runway and apron.

Authorities have raised Merapi’s alert level to waspada (caution), the second-highest level in the country’s four-tiered alert system.

The volcano previously erupted on 13 February, spewing a 2,000-metre-high ash column.

Mount Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia. An eruption in 2010 left more than 300 people dead and forced almost 400,000 people to take refuge.

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