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Volcano eruption in Indonesia; 1 dead, thousands flee

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Thousands flee the eruption of Mount Semeru in Indonesia. (via BNPB.go.id)

Mount Semeru in East Java, Indonesia erupted today, causing havoc and darkness in the surrounding community, with one death and 41 burn injuries from the eruption reported so far. Smoke and ash billowed into the air and blackened the sky and thousands of local residents were forced to flee their homes for safety.

The eruption took place at around 3 in the afternoon and is about 90 kilometres south of Surabaya and rescuers started evacuating locals immediately as lava spread to villages in the area. Emergency officials released video footage showing area people fleeing as smoke and ashes fell on their village.

A 5-kilometres perimeter around the eruption site has been designated a restricted zone and closed off by local authorities in Indonesia. The cratered volcano spread ash, debris, and lava through villages and wiped out a local bridge in Lumajang. The spokesman for the national disaster mitigation agency described the scene and aid efforts.

“A number of areas went dark after being covered by volcanic ash. We are building up some shelters in several locations in Lumajang.”

Volcanoes are not uncommon in Indonesia, which sits on the so-called Ring of Fire in the Pacific, where continental plates rub together and often cause natural disasters like volcanos and earthquakes. In fact, it’s just been one year since Mount Semeru last erupted, and thousands fled the ash and lava in December of 2020 as well.

Indonesia has about 130 active volcanos, and Semeru has been designated the second-highest alert level since the eruption last year. 3 years ago, another volcanic eruption between Java and Sumatra islands left 400 people dead when it created an underwater landslide and tsunami.

And just a few months ago in August, Indonesia’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi erupted with an ash cloud and stream of lava. In 2010, more than 300 people died, and others had to evacuate following a major eruption of Merapi.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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    Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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