At least 200,000 people have been evacuated from Java after a powerful volcanic eruption covered Indonesia's main island in smoke and ash.

The huge explosion from Mount Kelud was heard as far away as 200km, with the volcano spewing debris across the island. Officials have raised the alert to its highest level and ordered evacuation of people residing within a 10 km radius. Troops have also been deployed to help residents to vacate the area.

At least two deaths have been reported when a house in Kelud's vicinity collapsed due to the eruption. Fears that the debris could cause severe damage to aircraft as well as low visibility prompted the shutdown of three major airports at Surabaya, Solo and Yogyakarta.

Kelud, located about 730 km from Indonesia's capital Jakarta, is one the 130 active volcanoes in the country prone to deadly earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Scientists have been closely observing the rumbling for several weeks but they did not expect a sudden eruption.

Written and presented by Alfred Joyner