Indonesia volcano alert raised following Semeru eruption

World Sunday 04/December/2022 14:51 PM
By: DW
Indonesia volcano alert raised following Semeru eruption

Mount Semeru volcano on Indonesia's main island of Java erupted Sunday, spewing a plume of ash high into to air and unleashing rivers of lava down the side of the mountain.

Authorities issued a volcano alert to the highest level, meaning the settlements are threatened and volcanic activity can be expected to increase, Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) spokesperson Hendra Gunawan told broadcaster Kompas TV.

What emergency measures are being taken?

No casualties have yet been reported. Several nearby villages were blanketed with ash and residents have been evacuated to temporary shelters, Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency, BNPB, said in a statement.

Joko Sambang, head of the disaster management agency in Lumajang, located near the volcano, said that several hundred people have been evacuated, mostly woman, children and the elderly.

Mount Semeru is located on the eastern part of Java island, around 640 kilometers (400 miles) from capital city Jakarta.

The eruption was unleashed after monsoon rains eroded and finally collapsed the lava dome atop the 3,676 meter (12,060 foot) volcano, said BNPB spokesperson Abdul Muhari.

"Most of the road accesses have been closed since this morning. Now its raining volcanic ash and it has covered the view of the mountain," Bayu Deny Alfianto, a local volunteer told Reuters news agency.

Several nearby villages were blanketed with ash, which has been mixing with monsoon rainfall. Residents of nearby villages have been told to avoid an area along a river in the direction where the ash was traveling.

Reports said small eruptions were continuing.

In December 2021, Semeru had a major eruption, leaving 51 dead and hundreds injured. Indonesia has over 100 active volcanoes, many nearby heavily populated areas.

The Indonesian archipelago is part of the Pacific "ring of fire," a region which is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.