Karo (Indonesia) (AFP) - Indonesia's Mount Sinabung erupted more than 30 times Tuesday spewing lava and ash clouds over a wide area, officials said, with more than 26,000 people now forced to flee their homes.
Sinabung, which lies in the northwest of Indonesia's Sumatra island, sent hot rocks and ash 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) into in the air, spreading hot clouds over a 4.5 kilometres radius, the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation told AFP.
It is part of the dangerous area known as the Pacific Ring Of Fire, an area with 129 active volcanoes.
Enormous clouds rose from the mountain, as thick layers of grey ash blanketed plantations and nearby houses.
With the volcano erupting regularly, many of those who have left their homes since Sinabung started erupting in September have fallen ill, a local government official said.
The volcano at Mount Sinabung has been erupting for several days. Photo: Getty Images
"Some refugees are sick, coughing mainly, and they are also in need of clean water," Robert Peranginangin,a spokesman for Karo district, told AFP.
Volcanoes are a regular threat for many living in Indonesia near their fertile slopes.
Mount Sinabung had been quiet for around 400 years until it rumbled back to life in 2010, and again in September last year.
Thousands of people have had to flee because of the volcanic ash. Photo: Getty Images
In August 2013, five people were killed and hundreds evacuated when a volcano on a small island in East Nusa Tenggara province erupted.
The country's most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of eruptions in 2010.
Many people have been taken to hospital will illness because of the eruptions. Photo: AP