STORY: The evacuation of people living near the volcano in East Java province had begun, a regional administrator, told local media. Authorities warned residents not to conduct any activities within 8 km (5 miles) of Semeru's eruption center, Kompas TV said.
The plume from the volcano reached a height of 50,000 feet (15 km), said Japan's Meteorology Agency, which was monitoring for the possibility of a tsunami there. The eruption on the eastern part of Java island, some 640 km (400 miles) east of the capital Jakarta, follows a series of earthquakes on the west of the island, including one last month that killed more than 300 people.
With 142 volcanoes, Indonesia has the largest population globally living in close range to a volcano, including 8.6 million within 10 km (6 miles).