Tomohon, North Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - Mount Lokon in North Sulawesi on Tuesday erupted again, spewing volcanic ashes from its Tompaluan crater into the air as high as 250 meters, volcanic monitoring post spokesman Jemmy Runtuwene said here on Tuesday.

"Since 4.21 am Central Indonesia Standard Time (WITA) until 11 on Tuesday morning, the volcano has erupted ten times," Runtuwene said.

He said that because it was classified into minor eruptions, the emergency status of Mt Lokon has yet to be raised or lowered to alert level because the eruptions did not threaten the settlements and activities of people in a radius of 3 kilometers of the Tompaluan crater.

Since July 10, 2011 Mt Lokon has erupted, prompting thousands of people to evacuate to safer areas.

It was then followed by a major eruption on July 14 and caused forest fires around the mountain.

Then on July 17 it erupted again and spewed hot ash as high as 3,000 meters.

Runtuwene said the eruption at that time was higher than the previous ones, although it only spewed volcanic ash and not hot lava.

Due to the eruptions, around 1,355 families of 4,868 people from the villages of Kinilow I, Kakaskasen, Tinoor I and II and Rungku Wailan were forced to evacuate.

Until three weeks after the first eruption, some 287 evacuees from Kinilow and Kinilow I villages in Tomohon Utara sub-district have yet to be permitted to return to their houses.

"They are still in refugee camps for safety reasons," Tomohon emergency response spokesman Arnold Poli said here on Tuesday.

He said the remaining evacuees were still accommodated at Taman Kota because their villages were prone to the danger of hot clouds of a volcanic eruption.

"We are afraid of hot clouds because minor eruptions continue to happen and therefore we have not permitted the evacuees to return to their villages," Poli said.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2011