Indonesia volcano eruption 2021: what happened as Mount Semeru on Java Island erupts - how many have died?

People in East Java villages fleeing their homes as ash is thrown into the air. (Picture: Getty)People in East Java villages fleeing their homes as ash is thrown into the air. (Picture: Getty)
People in East Java villages fleeing their homes as ash is thrown into the air. (Picture: Getty) | AFP via Getty Images
Indonesia is located in the highly seismically active area called the “Pacific Ring of Fire”

A volcano on the Indonesian island of Java has erupted, killing at least 14 people and injuring dozens, according to the disaster mitigation agency (BNPB).

Semeru, the tallest mountain on the island, erupted on Saturday 4 December, covering villages in East Java with ash as people fled their homes in panic.

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A warning was sent out on Wednesday 1 December telling people not to go near Semeru, which had begun emitting hot clouds and lava flows near its rivers.

Search teams are looking for victims among deep layers of ash, with many people missing.

How many victims were there?

So far, at least 14 people have been confirmed to have been killed, 56 were injured, and 1,300 have been evacuated.

Most injuries were burns, authorities said.

What disruption has the eruption caused?

The eruption has wrecked buildings and destroyed a bridge that connected two areas in the district of Lumajang with the city of Malang.

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It hasn’t caused any disruption to flight, however, pilots have been alerted to watch out for ashfall.

Thick, grey ash has damaged houses in the Sumberwuluh area near the volcano, and people have been warned not to go back to their homes.

A number of obstacles are lying on roads, including fallen trees, heavy rocks and hot volcanic sediment.

What is being done to help victims?

Rescue efforts are “very dire” due to the severed bridge and a lack of experience among volunteers, a Lumajang resident and volunteer told Reuters.

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BNPB is helping to rebuild wrecked homes, while Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has order authorities to find and treat victims

Has Semeru erupted before?

The volcano erupted in January 2021, causing no casualties.

The 3,600-metre high mountain is one of Indonesia’s nearly 130 active volcanoes.

An eruption in 2010 of another of the volcanoes on Java Island, Merapi, killed over 350 people and displaced 400,000.

Indonesia is located in the highly seismically active area called the “Pacific Ring of Fire”.

This is where different plates on the earth’s crust meet and create a lot of earthquakes and volcanoes.

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