Thousands of people are fleeing the island of Makian because a volcano dormant for 100 years has begun erupting, but an official said Wednesday that there have been no casualties.
Provincial spokesman Yaapi Sahetapy said 3,000-foot Mount Kie Bessy, 1,560 miles northeast of Jakarta, erupted Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and spewed hot lava and dust as high as 7,000 feet.Residents were evacuating the 14-square-mile island today on naval and other ships, Sahetapy said by telephone from the provincial city of Ambon. He refused to say how many had left.
But the official Antara news agency said rescue workers using 17 vessels had evacuated about 5,000 of the island's 11,000 residents by Tuesday.
Sahetapy said the government ordered people to abandon the island in 1976 after scientists predicted the volcano would explode, but residents had returned.
Last May, the eruption of 2,300-foot Mount Api on the island of Gunung Api, 375 miles southeast of Makian, forced the evacuation of thousands of local people.