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Indonesian volcano erupts forcing thousands to flee their island homes

A volcano in Indonesia has erupted spewing ash and smoke as high as 2.5 miles into the sky and forcing more than 2,700 people fleeing from their homes. 

The Mount Ile Lewotolok volcano in the East Nusa Tenggara province of Lembata in the Lesser Sunda Islands has forced 2,780 people to flee from 26 villages, officials have said.

Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre said on its website that the area near the volcano is likely to be inundated with 'hot clouds, lava stream, lava avalanche, and poisonous gas'. 

A volcano in Indonesia has erupted spewing ash and smoke as high as two miles into the sky and forcing more than 2,700 people to flee their homes

Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre said on its website that the area near the volcano is likely to be inundated with 'hot clouds, lava stream, lava avalanche, and poisonous gas'

Officials said no casualties have been reported.  

Pak Kasbani, head of Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre, said the status of the volcano raised to the second-highest level on Indonesia's four-tier alert system due to 'increasing threats'. 

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Raditya Jati said in a statement that the eruption from the Mount Ile Lewotolok volcano, about 1616 miles east of Indonesia's capital of Jakarta, had caused panic among those living nearby.

Pak Kasbani, head of Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre, said the status of the volcano raised to the second-highest level on Indonesia's four-tier alert system due to 'increasing threats'

The Mount Ile Lewotolok volcano in the East Nusa Tenggara province of the Lesser Sunda Islands has left 2,780 people fleeing from 26 villages, officials have said

Mr Jati said around 2,780 people from 26 villages had sought refuge, although no casualties have so far been reported. 

There are only three other volcanoes with this level which include the Merapi volcano on the island of Java and Sinabung on Sumatra, which erupted this month. 

Muhammad Ilham, a 17-year-old who witnessed the eruption, said that residents nearby were 'panicked and they're still looking for refuge and in need of money right now'.   

Residents nearby were 'panicked and they're still looking for refuge and in need of money right now'

Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country, and while many show high levels of activity it can be weeks or even months before an eruption.     

This is a breaking story more to follow.  

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