March 27, 2023

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Thousands of Indonesians flee Semeru volcano eruption, at least 1 killed

Thousands of Indonesians flee Semeru volcano eruption, at least 1 killed

(Jakarta) The Semeru volcano in East Java erupted on Saturday, killing at least one person and injuring dozens with burns as thousands of residents fled in panic.

Authorities say more than 300 families have destroyed their homes with lava and ash in the severely affected village of Kurah Kerobokan, where two people are missing and eight are wanted.

A lifeless body was found in the village of Lumajang. In addition, Lumajang Vice Governor Inda Masdar said 41 people, including two pregnant women, suffered severe burns from the impact of the glowing lava.

Photo between photos, via Reuters

View of the Semeru volcano from Oro-Oro Ombo in the Lumajang region

“We transferred the burns to dispensaries and hospitalized those with more severe burns,” he said.

Defenders struggled to make progress as dense debris and cold lava reached their knees, complicating efforts to find the two missing and evacuate the eight trapped inside the mud-covered building.

According to Mr Masdar, access to Lumazong was suspended due to cold lava flows that destroyed a bridge.

In surrounding villages, residents fled in panic as cold lava and volcanic ash reached their communities, officials said.

They tried to send a team to help the population, but it did not reach its destination due to the debris of the volcanic ash.

Shortly after the eruption, many areas covered in volcanic ash were plunged into darkness.

A video released by the Abdul Muhari Agency showed residents, including children, running for shelter when the volcano erupted at around 3am on Saturday.

Mount Semeru, the highest mountain in Java, rises to 3676 meters. Images from Indonesia’s Meteorological and Geophysical Agency show the ash falling into the Indian Ocean.

The last major eruption of Semeru began in December 2020. It flew thousands of people and covered entire villages.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where the combination of continental plates causes high seismic activity. This Southeast Asian archipelago has about 130 active volcanoes in its territory.

In late 2018, an underwater landslide caused by a volcanic eruption between the islands of Java and Sumatra caused a tsunami that killed nearly 400 people.

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