The Semeru volcano eruption in Indonesia has killed at least 14 people and injured scores more, according to the disaster mitigation agency (BNPB), as search teams hunted for casualties in a landscape blanketed in ash.
Reuters reported that on Saturday, Semeru, Java’s tallest mountain, erupted in towers of ash and scorching clouds, blanketing adjacent towns in East Java province and sending people running in fear.
Residents were filmed running from Mt Semeru’s massive ash cloud. Locals have recounted dense smoke blocking the Sun, leaving them in pitch darkness, while photos show entire communities coated in volcanic ash up to the roofs.
At least 57 people have been hurt, reported BBC, with several of them suffering severe burns, according to officials. The injured are being treated at various hospitals and medical facilities, according to a representative for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB).
At least 11 villages in the Lumajang area have been blanketed in volcanic ash, burying homes and causing some evacuees to seek refuge in mosques and improvised shelters.
Six miners’ remains were rescued from a river in Curah Kobokan village, where they were mining sand on the river bank, according to a rescue volunteer in Indonesia’s Lumajang district.
According to Muhammad Firman Adiguna Effasa, a 32-year-old volunteer, some of the miners were still inside their trucks, while others were located sprawled on the ground near the vehicles. It’s unclear if those six deaths are related to the 13 reported earlier by police.
He stated that he was concerned that other miners or other victims might still be out there, but that they would perish due to the lava flood’s severity.
According to the statement, authorities have converted schools, mosques, village halls, and village houses into evacuation centers.
Semeru is one of Indonesia’s almost 130 active volcanoes, standing at above 3,600 metres (12,000 ft). It erupted in January, but no one was killed. Indonesia lies in the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” a seismically active zone where various plates of the earth’s crust collide, resulting in a great number of earthquakes and volcanoes. In 2010, the Merapi volcano on Java island erupted, killing approximately 350 people and displacing 400,000 people.