Indonesia: Three volcanoes erupt, several flights disrupted

Sultan Babullah airport in Ternate remained shut down on Wednesday.

Three volcanoes in Indonesia have erupted and darkened skies in parts of the archipelago which forced airports to shut down and cancel several flights.

Mount Rinjani on Lombok Island near Bali, the Sinabung volcano on Sumatra Island and Mount Gamalama in the Moluccas chain of islands have all erupted in the past couple of days but there hasn't been any report of casualties.

Sultan Babullah airport in Ternate, the capital of North Maluku province, remained shut down on Wednesday and Lombok's international airport was closed for several hours on Tuesday.

The spokesman for Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that Gamalama and Sinabung erupted again late on Tuesday, blasting debris high into the air.

Nugroho also said that hot ash tumbled down the Sinabung slopes as far as 2,000 meters (yards) southward into a river. "Farms and trees around the three volcanoes were covered in gray ash, but nearby towns and villages were not in danger," he added.

Since last year, the Sinabung volcano has erupted several times and at least 13,000 people have been evacuated from the region.

The three mountains are among about 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia. The archipelago of 250 million people is prone to earthquakes and volcanoes because it sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire", a string of faults that lines the Pacific Ocean.