Indonesian authorities raised the alert status for Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province to the highest level Sunday after the volcano sent gravel as high as 16,400 feet and hot gas down its slope.
Sunday about 12,300 evacuees from eight villages around Mount Sinabung packed government camps, which were far away from the volcano.
More than 6,000 others evacuated earlier to shelters in 16 different locations, reports the Associated Press.
Since September the 8,530-foot-high mountain has erupted several times after being dormant for three years.
In August 2010, the volcano erupted after being quiet for four centuries. It took many people by surprise, killing two people and forcing 30,000 others to flee.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
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