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28 December 2011

Hundreds of people flee as volcano’s lava flood kills 4 in eastern Indonesia

TERNATE, Indonesia — Officials say fast-moving mudflows streaming from the mouth of a volcano in eastern Indonesia have killed four villagers. About 1,000 others have fled their homes.

Mount Gamalama, located in the Molucca Islands, sprang back to life this month with a powerful, non-fatal eruption.

Government spokesman Yusuf Sunnya said Wednesday that days of heavy rains triggered flows of cold lava, rocks and other debris that slammed into villages near the base Tuesday night.

He said four people were killed and more than a dozen others were hospitalized with injuries ranging from broken bones to head wounds.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago with millions of people living on mountains or near fertile flood plains. Seasonal downpours here often cause landslides.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

- Washington Post