Severe weather hinders search and rescue of Indonesian volcano Reuters

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© Reuters. On December 5, 2021, during the eruption in Sumber Wuluh Village in Lumajang, East Java, Indonesia, volunteers looked like volcanic ash ejected from Semeru Volcano. This photo was taken by Antara Foto/Zabur Karuru/via REUTERS.

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Willie Cunhawan

Sambu Ulu, Indonesia (Reuters)-Officials monitoring the Semeru volcano in Indonesia on Monday warned residents to stay vigilant after a fatal eruption over the weekend as strong winds and heavy rain stopped search and rescue operations.

The highest mountain on the island of Java erupted violently on Saturday, sending towering volcanic ash into the sky, covering surrounding villages. Fourteen people were killed and dozens were injured.

Aerial footage shows that the roof protrudes from the gray landscape, while the officers, police and residents on the ground are digging mud with their hands to rescue the victims.

GRAPHIC-Semeru eruption in Indonesia

To view the graphics, click here: https://graphics.reuters.com/INDONESIA-VOLCANO/klvyknzmbvg/INDONESIA-VOLCANO.jpg

On Monday, Lisvanto, head of the Semeru Volcano Observatory, warned people to keep a safe distance from the mountain because of reports that anxious residents have returned home to check their belongings and livestock.

“Mt. Semeru’s status is still at level 2, which means that at this level, people need to be more vigilant because potential threats still exist,” he said.

More than 50 people were injured in the volcanic eruption, most of them burned. The lava flow destroyed the strategic bridge connecting the two areas near the Luma River with the city of Malang.

An eyewitness from Reuters said that in the Sumberwuluh area, two trucks were half buried by volcanic ash. Due to strong winds, the restoration work suddenly stopped.

Public kitchens and sanitation facilities have been established for more than 1,000 displaced persons.

According to Indonesian CNN reports, a trauma treatment team has been dispatched to help children affected by the volcanic eruption, while hundreds of aid packages including rice, blankets, clothes and other basic necessities have been sent to the area.

Semeru is one of more than 100 active volcanoes in Indonesia. The country straddles the Pacific Ring of Fire. This is an area of ​​intense seismic activity on multiple tectonic plates.

GRAPHIC-Pacific Ring of Fire

To view the graphics, click here: https://graphics.reuters.com/INDONESIA-VOLCANO/zjvqkyeamvx/RING-OF-FIRE.jpg

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