A handout photo made available by the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management shows volcanic materials from Mount Semeru volcano hitting a bridge following an eruption on Sunday. Photo courtesy EPA-EFE/BNPB
Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Mount Semeru, a volcano in the East Java province of Indonesia, has erupted with plumes of volcanic ash reaching roughly 50,000 feet into the air.
Indonesia's Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said in a statement Sunday that it had raised that the country's alert level for volcanic activity had been raised to the highest Level IV from Level III.
At least 1,979 people were evacuated Sunday from near the volcano, Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency said in a statement. Officials said that there have been no reports of casualties.
"A total of 10,000 cloth masks, 10,000 medical masks and 4,000 children's masks have been distributed to reduce the impact of respiratory health risks due to volcanic ash," the agency said in the statement.
The Japan Meteorological Agency, which also monitors volcanic activity in Indonesia, said in a statement that a large-scale eruption was recorded around 11:18 a.m. on Sunday.
"We are currently investigating whether there will be a tsunami in Japan due to this eruption," Japanese officials said.
"Currently, no significant tidal changes have been observed at observation points in Japan and overseas."
The Japanese Meteorological Agency said that the plume from the volcano had reached about 50,000 feet.
Mount Semeru lies about 500 miles southeast of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, and Java is the largest population center for the nation of archipelagos.
The eruption came after a series of devastating earthquakes in the country, including one that killed more than 300 people last month.
Last week, Mauna Loa, one of the five volcanoes that form Hawaii's Big Island, began erupting on Monday for the first time in 38 years.