Sinabung lay dormant for centuries but became active again in 2010. Since September last year it has been periodically spewing massive clouds of gas and ash high into the atmosphere.

Debris from the 2,460 metre-high volcano has travelled several kilometres from its crater.

Thousands of hectares of farming land have been affected by the eruptions and more than 22,000 people have fled their homes and are being housed in temporary shelters, the National Disaster Management Agency said.

Sinabung is one of nearly 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, a country that straddles the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”.

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