Indonesia’s Merapi volcano erupted at 01:20 UTC (08:20 local time) on June 1, 2018, sending ash up to 11.6 km (38 000 feet) in the air in two minutes and prompting officials to raise the Aviation Color Code to Red.
Although there is no need to evacuate as the area is still safe, residents living near the volcano are reminded not to enter exclusion zone – 3 km (1.8 miles) – and are encouraged to remain calm. Based on a pilot report, the height of the ash plume, was measured up to 11.6 km (38 000 feet).
Ashfall has been reported around the volcano and the Adi Sucipto Yogyakarta International Airport remained open to flights.
After 4 years of calm, Mount Merapi entered in a new eruptive phase with a powerful phreatic eruption at 00:30 UTC (07:30 local time) on May 11, 2018, which ejected ash up to 15 km (50 000 feet). Consequently, authorities were forced to issue temporary evacuation orders for all residents living within 5 km (3 miles) of the crater.
I climbed myself Mount Merapi, which is located about 28 km (17 miles) north of Yogyakarta city (population 2.4 million). There are also thousands of people living on its flanks. In November 1994, a large explosion at the volcano produced pyroclastic flows that killed 27 people. A few years before, in 2010, a series of eruptions killed 353 people and over 350, 000 were evacuated.