Mt. Rokatenda in NTT erupts,
reportedly killing five

A large-scale volcanic eruption of Mount Rokatenda on Palue Island in Sikka regency, East Nusa Tenggara, has reportedly killed at least five people early on Saturday morning.

Residents were forced to evacuate, but five people were allegedly trapped in hot lava, Palue district head Marten Adji said via phone.

The euption took place at 4:27 a.m. local time and aside from spewing hot ash, it also discharged hot lava, which flowed from Woje Wubi to Punge beach in Rokirole village.

"Only three of the five bodies have been recovered and the other two have not been accounted for," Marten said, adding that search activities by the evacuation team were hindered by the hot lava.

Head of the NTT office of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency Tini Thadeus said that the hot cloud reached a height of 1,500 and 2,000 meters.

The local administration has taken a number of emergency measures by evacuating the victims to safer areas. "The residents have been asked to go to a radius of at least 3 kilometers from the crater," Tini said.

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