14 heartbreaking photos of the chaos caused by Mount Sinabung erupting in Indonesia

Mount Sinabung lies in the Karo Regency of North Sumatra, Indonesia. The volcano had been dormant for almost half a century until 2010 when it started showing signs of life. It has erupted several times since then and on June 2, it started spewing ash into the sky, engulfing the local towns. More than 10,000 residents have been evacuated from the region and buildings and wildlife have been destroyed.

Sinabung is one of 129 volcanoes in Indonesia and makes up part of the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire.”

Photographers have been on hand to document the phenomena and the results have been both spectacular and heartbreaking.

At 2,460 metres high, Mount Sinabung is intimidating on the best of days, let alone during an eruption. This man watches the dramatic scenes unfold from a distance.

The eruption originally posed no imminent threat. Locals of the Karo District continued with their daily routines. This woman carried on farming as Sinabung billowed out smoke behind her.

These local farmers stopped what they were doing to take in the incredible views. The fertile land surrounding the volcano is a center for agriculture.

But over the past week, surrounding areas have been covered in an increasingly thick sheet of ash and smoke which is too dangerous to ignore.

Locals have started wearing makeshift face protection to guard themselves from the harmful aerosols and poisonous gases found in volcanic ash.

Over 10,000 people have now been evacuated from the region, leaving behind their homes and many of their belongings.

These ash-covered houses lie abandoned.

This boy is one of the thousands of residents to be evacuated. Here, he rests inside a temporary shelter, surrounded by his family's possessions.

By night the scenes are spectacular as molten lava illuminates the peak of the volcano.

The volcano had lain dormant for four centuries until 2010 when it began showing signs of life again. In February 2014, similar lava flows killed 14 people as they engulfed small towns.

The toxic ash and molten lava have engulfed and destroyed large expanses of wildlife and foliage. An eruption in 2013 caused over $100 million of damage.

The entire surrounding region is now smothered by grey ash and smog. These women hand out face-masks to passing motorists.

This woman wears a mask as she passes through an area covered by ash.

These residents of Sukandebi village are covered in ash as they ride on a motorcycle as Mount Sinabung volcano erupts.

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