For some farmers collecting grass in the shadow of Indonesia's Mount Bromo, even a volcanic eruption fails to interrupt their working day. Spewing ashes and smoke as high as one kilometre into the atmosphere, the volcano appears not to bother the residents of Ngadisari village in eastern Java – indeed, they often scale the 2,329m tall cone to leave offerings at its crater. Nevertheless, the activity has caused the airport at the nearby city of Malang to close for five days due to fears it could cause engine trouble. Indonesia is used to such events – it has more active volcanoes than any other country in the world.
Bromo began erupting four days ago, having lain quiet for a year, but so far no injuries have been sustained by the people living in its reach. They are more fortunate than the population near Mount Merapi in central Java, where more than 320 people have been killed since a series of violent eruptions began last month.
The area around Bromo is much less densely populated than that around Merapi because it is part of the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park. The caldera does, however, provide richly fertile land for farming, and the government is considering imposing a no-go zone within a 3km radius of the peak.
As it is one of Java's most popular tourist attractions, the head of the National Disaster Management Agency promised to provide tourists and locals with binoculars so they can watch the spectacular eruptions.