Erupting volcano forces 1,000 to flee in Indonesia

July 12, 2011 - 9:59 AM
APTOPIX Indonesia Volcano

Mount Lokon spews volcanic smoke in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, Tuesday, July 12, 2011. Officials raised the alert for the Indonesian volcano with history of violent explosions to its highest level Monday, following a series of eruptions over the weekend. (AP Photo/Grace Wakary)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Nearly 1,000 residents have fled two villages near an Indonesian volcano that has been erupting this week and has a history of violent explosions.

Disaster managment official Warsito said 977 people from Kaskasen and Kinilow villages evacuated Tuesday to a school in the district town of Tomohon.

Mount Lokon has been at the highest alert level since Sunday and has had small eruptions daily. People were urged to stay up to 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometers) away from the 5,741-foot (1,750-meter) volcano.

The mountain in north Sulawesi province is one of about 129 active volcanos in Indonesia.

Its last major eruption in 1991 killed a Swiss hiker and forced thousands of people to flee their homes.