Jakarta (VNA) – More than 1,200 people were evacuated from their homes on January 19 as Mt. Egon volcano, in the eastern Flores island of Indonesia, spewed ashes and toxic gas into the air.

All residents within three kilometers of the volcano were forced to evacuate, and roads were also closed.

Officials said they have distributed thousands of gas masks to villagers around the mountain, and said they were prepared to issue a wide-scale evacuation order if the situation deteriorates further.

Mt. Egon began rumbling last month and has become more active in recent days.

During its last eruption in 2008, the mountain blasted smoke and volcanic material nearly six km into the atmosphere.

Mt. Egon is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which sits on the Ring of Fire, a belt of seismic activity running around the basin of the Pacific Ocean.-VNA