Indonesian rescuers dig up 14 posthumous volcanic ash


Lumajang, Indonesia-The day after the furious eruption of the tallest volcano on Java, rescuers sifted smoldering debris and thick mud in search of survivors.

Mount Semeru in the Lumajang district of East Java was suddenly erupted by a heavy rain on Saturday, spewing thick pillars of volcanic ash over 12,000 meters (40,000 feet) into the sky. Villages and nearby towns were covered and several settlements were buried under heavy mud from volcanic debris.

Authorities warned thousands of people fleeing the wrath of the volcano not to return during the stagnation of Sunday’s activities. However, some were desperate to check the livestock and belongings left behind. In some areas, everything from the thinnest tree branches to the sofas and chairs in the house was ashed.

“There is no life there … trees, farms, houses are charred and all are covered with dark gray ash,” said Haryadi Purnomo, a search and rescue agency in East Java. He said some other areas were virtually untouched.

Search and rescue operations were temporarily suspended on Sunday afternoon as heavy rains could cause hot ash and debris to fall from the crater. On Saturday, a torrent of mud destroyed the main and small bridges connecting Lumajan and the adjacent Malang district.

The eruption relieved the pressure that had been built under the lava dome at the crater. However, experts warned that the dome could collapse further, causing an avalanche of blister gas and debris trapped beneath it.

Epoch Times Photo
The remains of a bridge on a slope destroyed by a lava flow in the eruption of Mount Semeru in Lumajang, East Java, Indonesia on December 5, 2021. (Hendra Permana / AP Photo)

Thunderstorms and several days of rain eroded the dome at the top of Mount Semeru, 3,676 meters (12,060 feet), partially collapsing and causing an eruption, said Eko Budi Lelono, head of the Geological Survey Center. I did.

Smer, a conical stratovolcano, is also known as Mahamel, which means “Oyama” in Sanskrit. It has erupted many times over the last 200 years. Still, like any other volcano, it is one of the 129 volcanoes monitored in Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, and more than 62,000 people call the fertile slopes of Smer home. The last eruption was in January, with no casualties.

Indonesia, an archipelago with a population of over 270 million, is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a series of horseshoe-shaped faults, making it prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity. Currently, 54% of the country’s population lives in Java, the country’s most densely populated region.

Officials said they had previously hoped to avoid casualties by carefully monitoring the volcano.

Abdul Muhari, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, said 56 people were hospitalized primarily for burns. He said the rescuers were still looking for nine residents of Curah Kobokan village.

After a major eruption on Saturday, more than 1,300 villagers flowed into temporary housing, but many others disobeyed official warnings and said they had to take care of livestock and protect their property. I chose to stay at home.

“We will do everything we can to evacuate them by preparing trucks and bikes so that they can escape at any time,” he said.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he had instructed the Cabinet Minister, disaster and military personnel to coordinate their response. The government has promised to move residents from the most damaged villages to safer places within the next six months and provide each family with a monthly compensation of Rp500,000 ($ 34.50) while waiting for a new home. Did.

By Niniek Karmini and Agoe s Basoeki

Associated Press