sumatra volcano.jpgThousands of Indonesians are living in emergency shelters after fleeing from an erupting volcano on the island of Sumatra.

Officials issued emergency warning signals after Mount Sinabung began to spew lava shortly after midnight  on Sunday.

Smoke and ash reportedly shot 1 500m into the air and witnesses said they could see the lava from several miles away.

Mount Sinabung, which is 60km south-west of Sumatra’s main city Medan, has not erupted for 400 years and officials say more than 19 000 people were being moved from the slopes of the mountain and surrounding areas.

Ash and acid smoke from the volcano have blanketed villages and crops. Local people arriving at refuge centres were covered in grey ash.

At least one person is reported to have died from breathing problems.