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The Merapi volcano in Indonesia erupted overnight, blasting boiling lava and ash down its slopes and forcing over 250 residents to flee, according to the country's disaster mitigation agency (BNPB).

About midnight around (1700 GMT), Merapi erupted heated clouds containing ash and volcanic debris that ran 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) down its slopes, according to Indonesia's geological agency.

According to the BNPB, 253 people were evacuated from the area around the volcano in Indonesia's Yogyakarta region, and ash coated some settlements. There were no early reports of casualties.

More lava flows and heated clouds could pose a threat, according to the BNPB, which advised anyone living within 7 kilometres of the volcano to stay away.

Merapi is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, standing at 2,963 metres (9,721 feet) and already on the country's second-highest alert level.

Indonesia has more volcanoes than any other country on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Merapi last erupted catastrophically in 2010, killing over 350 people.

The Semeru volcano erupted in East Java province in December killed approximately 60 people.