2014-02-14 16:46:36

Volcano causes havoc in Indonesia

(Vatican Radio) In Indonesia, tens of thousands of people have fled an erupting volcano -- many with only an hour's warning. At least two people are reported dead. The volcano demolished homes and blocked roads. Indonesia's disasters agency said it threw millions of cubic metres of rock and dust into the air, threatening aircraft near Java.

Trucks carried people and livestock from areas where trees, crops and homes are now covered with up to five centimetres of ash. One survivor said he knew it was serious when he felt something like rain falling -- not water, he said, but gravel.

Some evacuees gathered in schools, some of them wearing paper masks to help them breathe. Experts monitoring tremors sounded the alarm about an hour before Mount Kelud erupted near Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city. It last erupted like this 24 years ago, but with rescue workers unable to reach some of the worst-hit areas the full human toll may not be known for some time.

Listen to the report by correspondent Alastair Wanklyn: RealAudioMP3

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