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Indonesia's Mount Kelud Erupts: Thousands Flee Under Rain Of Ash And Debris (PICTURES)

14/02/2014 14:35 GMT | Updated 14/02/2014 18:59 GMT

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes after a volcano violently erupted on the Indonesian island of Java.

Two people have reportedly been crushed to death and more than 100,000 evacuated after the tropical island was blanketed with rocks and ash, causing homes to cave in.

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"The homes were poorly built and seemed to have collapsed easily under the weight,’’ National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugoro said on Friday. ‘‘Over 100,000 people have been evacuated."

Mount Kelud spewed debris over a large area, including the city of Surabaya, about 130km (80 miles) away.

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"The smell of sulphur and ash hung so thickly in the air that breathing was painful," one local resident said.

The explosive overnight eruption could be heard up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) away, Indonesia's disaster agency said.

Airports in Surabaya, Yogyakarta and Solo shut down because of low visibility with the runway being covered in a 5cm-thick layer of ash.

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The head of the country’s volcano-monitoring agency, Muhammad Hendrasto urged about 200,000 people living in 36 villages within 10 kilometres of the crater to evacuate.

"It is spewing lava right now while gravel rain has fallen in some areas," Mr Hendrasto said. "We worry that the gravel rain can endanger people who are evacuating."

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The volcano last erupted in 1990, killing dozens of people. A powerful eruption in 1919 killed around 5,000 people.

Indonesia, which has about about 130 active volcanoes , lies across a series of geological fault-lines and is prone to frequent earthquakes and eruptions.

Volcano erupts in Indonesia