Villagers in Russia’s Far Eastern region of Kamchatka have been warned not to leave their homes after a volcanic eruption showered the area in waves of ash.
Schools and kindergartens were closed in the village of Klyuchi on Thursday after the nearby Shiveluch volcano erupted, the Interfax news agency reported. The villages of Kozyrevsk and Mayskoye in the Ust-Kamchatsky district were also affected.
Final-year students sitting their national exams were still forced to attend school to complete the test, with many forced to wrap their faces in gauze bandages before making their way to campus.
Alexander Voznikov, the head of the village council, told Interfax that large amounts of ash began to fall on Thursday morning.
“Everything went dark: it was as if night had suddenly fallen,” he said.
Local firefighters will be tasked with clearing the ash from the village streets when it finally settles, he said.
The Shiveluch volcano threw a plume of ash some 12 kilometers above sea level when it began to erupt on Thursday morning.
The volcano, which experts believe is between 60,000 to 70,000 years old, stands at 3,283 meters tall.