Mount Semeru in Indonesia: at least 13 dead after volcano eruption

Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Board (BNPB) said in a statement on Sunday that the eruption injured 98 others, including two pregnant women, after it covered villages with ash and let people flee from clouds of debris. .

At least 300 families were evacuated following the eruption, according to Indah Amperawati, deputy chief of Lumajang district, an area near the volcano.

IIn its statement on Sunday, the BNPB said search and rescue efforts were underway, but did not say how many people were still missing.

Authorities have converted schools, mosques, town halls and village houses into evacuation centers, the statement said.

Java is the largest population center in Indonesia’s huge island archipelago and is home to the capital Jakarta. Standing over 12,000 feet tall, Mount Semeru is the highest mountain on Java.

Lumajang District Deputy Chief Indah said most of the burns had been evacuated to Penanggal Primary Health Center alongside a deceased resident in Curah Kobokan village.

Emergency services were unable to reach several other villages due to roads blocked by mud and fallen trees, Indah said at the press conference.

The military has been called on to provide people and equipment to support the rescue efforts, BNPB chief TNI Major General TNI Suharyanto told the press conference.

East Java province disaster management chief Budi Santosa said earlier on Saturday that two sub-districts had been “severely affected” by the volcano eruption.

The volcanic ash and the smell of sulfur were first reported around 3 p.m. local time (3 a.m.ET), according to the Mount Semeru Volcano Lookout Post. The station added that clouds of hot ash were falling towards a village in East Java, Sapitarang, in the district of Pronojiwo.

Mount Semeru spits ash into the air during an eruption on Saturday.

Videos shared by government emergency response teams showed locals fleeing huge, thick ash clouds. Other footage shared by locals showed people gathering at a local mosque in Besuk Kobokan as smoke blanketed the surrounding streets.

Santosa told the press conference that he believed health facilities in the disaster area, whether primary health centers or hospitals, would be able to accommodate the victims.

His team is trying to carry out evacuations and prepare refugee camps in the area, which would provide food, masks, blankets and shelter to displaced residents.

Indonesia sits between two continental plates on what’s known as the Ring of Fire, a strip around the Pacific Ocean basin that leads to high levels of tectonic and volcanic activity.

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