Seven airports closed due to volcanic ash from Mount Kelud

... VAAC has recommended all airplanes not to travel through that area... "
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Seven airports and one airstrip remain closed on Saturday, as of 10:00 am local time (GMT +7), due to volcanic ash from Mount Kelud in East Java, an official said.

Head of Data and Information Center of National Disaster Mitigation Agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement on Saturday that the seven closed airports were Juanda (Surabaya), Adi Sumarmo (Solo), Adi Sucipto (Yogyakarta) Abdulrahman Saleh (Malang), Ahmad Yani (Semarang), Husein Sastranegara (Bandung) and Tunggul Wulung airstrip in Cilacap.

"The runway at Iswahyudi Airport of Madiun is also closed," Nugroho said.

The airports are still being cleaned following the downpour of volcanic ash.

Nugroho said the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, based in Washington, USA, reported that volcanic ash from Mount Kelud has blown clear of Java and Sumatra air space and reached the Indian Ocean at the west of Sumatra Island.

"VAAC has recommended all airplanes not to travel through that area," Nugroho said.

Meanwhile, at 06:00 am Saturday morning Mount Kelud spewed a plume of white smoke, rising 3,000 meters high.

"Volcanic ash and sand are blanketing all houses and roads in Kediri," Nugroho said.

Mount Kelud is still at its highest alert level, while the authority set the exclusion zone at 10 km from the mount's peak.

Also, Head of BNPB Syamsul Ma'arif had instructed 2,500 personnel of the Indonesian Military and Police to clean roads in Kediri.

Further, local residents have begun clearing volcanic debris from their houses and neighborhoods.

The eruption of Mt Kelud on Thursday, Feb 13, forced some 200 thousand people to flee, forcing closures of airports and schools in several cities in Indonesia's most densely populated island of Java.

At least three residents were reported to have died. The major explosive eruption of the 1,731-meter volcano could be heard in Solo, Central Java and Yogyakarta, located some 200 km from the volcano. 

Mount Kelud, located at the border of Blitar and Kediri districts, East Java Province, erupted at 10.50 pm local time. It spewed gravel and ash hundreds of kilometers, reaching West Nusa Tenggara and West Java provinces.

Mount Kelud's last major eruption was in 1990, when it spewed ash and lava that killed more than 30 people and injured hundreds.

In 1919, the volcano's powerful explosion was reportedly heard hundreds of kilometers away and claimed at least 5,160 lives.

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