(QHA) -

A volcano erupted on the heavily populated Indonesian island of Java, sending a huge plume of ash and sand 17 km (10 miles) into the air and forcing the evacuation on Friday of more than 100,000 people and closure of five airports, Euronews reports.

Indonesia’s national disaster agency ordered the evacuation of all the families living within a 10-km (6-mile) radius of Mount Kelud. The volcano is 90 km (54 miles) south of Indonesia’s second biggest city Surabaya, a major industrial centre.

“Over 100,000 people have been evacuated,” National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said by telephone. He said the eruptions had ceased, but the ash had spread as far as 500km (312 miles) to the west and northwest, causing more problems, especially for airlines.

Mount Kelud is one of 130 active volcanoes in the the world’s fourth most populous country. And the agency estimated that up to 200,000 people living in its vicinity had been affected by the eruption, and some families were still being brought out of the evacuation zone. The cloud from the eruption forced the shutdown of airports at Surabaya and the cities of Yogyakarta, Solo, Malang and Semarang in East Java and Central Java provinces, stranding thousands of passengers.

Photo: Reuters