Volcano erupts in Indonesia's quake-hit Sulawesi

Volcano erupts in Indonesia's quake-hit Sulawesi

Indonesia volcano Soputan
Soputan volcano erupting ash, as seen from Pinabetengan in Southeast Minahasa, North Sulawesi Province. (Photo: AFP/National Agency for Disaster Management, BNPB)

PALU, Indonesia: A volcano on Indonesia's Sulawesi erupted on Wednesday morning (Oct 3), just days after the island was struck by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. 

Mount Soputan spewed volcanic ash up to 4,000m above the crater, prompting authorities to raise the alert to level three on the four-level volcano alert system, reported Jakarta Post. 

The state disaster agency warned people to stay at least 4km away from the volcano. 

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However, there was no need to evacuate for the time being, said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. 

There were no reports of any casualties or damage. The volcanic ash was also not expected to disrupt flights because of the wind direction currently.

Mount Soputan is located about 600km northeast of Palu, which has been devastated by last Friday's quake and tsunami.

Days after disaster struck, time is running out for anyone trapped under collapsed buildings, while aid workers warned of increasing desperation in hard-hit outlying areas that have yet to get any help at all.

The official death toll from the 7.5-magnitude quake stood at 1,407, many killed by tsunami waves triggered by the quake.

READ: Indonesia quake: 1,700 houses in Palu swallowed up after soil turned into liquid

Authorities have set a tentative deadline of Friday to find anyone still trapped under rubble, at which point, the chances of finding survivors will dwindle to almost zero.

Almost 200,000 people need urgent help, the UN's humanitarian office said, among them tens of thousands of children, with an estimated 66,000 homes destroyed or damaged by the quake-tsunami. 

READ: Indonesia quake: 34 students killed at church, 52 missing, says Red Cross

Sitting on the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is one of the world's most vulnerable countries to quakes and tsunamis. 

A quake in 2004 triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean that killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

Source: Agencies/CNA/ad/(gs)