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Indonesian volcano erupts again

July 17, 2011 at 9:20 AM

SULAWESI, Indonesia, July 17 (UPI) -- Indonesia's Mount Lokon volcano erupted for the second time in a week Sunday, forcing the evacuations of thousands of people, officials said.

The latest eruption sent smoke and ash up to 10,000 feet into the air as the number of evacuees climbed to more than 5,000, Xinhua reported.

Displaced residents were sent to area schools, where the lucky ones received blankets and a place to sleep. Officials said they were short on supplies and didn't have enough room to support all the evacuees.

An eruption Thursday caused forest fires around the volcano. The latest eruption caused officials to order those living within about 2 miles of the volcano to leave their homes.

Mount Lokon stands more than 5,000 feet tall and is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

Its last major eruption in 1991 killed a Swiss hiker and displaced thousands of people.

"This time the eruption is higher than the previous ones, but it only spewed volcanic ash and no lava," Red Cross official Irwan Lalegit told the Indonesian news agency Antara.

"We ask the refugees to still use masks to prevent respiratory problems," Lalegit said.

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