- Indonesia’s Mount Semero has erupted, sending hot ash clouds a mile into the sky.
- Nearby villages are being evacuated, with no immediate reports of loss of life or property.
- Mount Simero last erupted exactly a year ago, killing at least 51 people and damaging more than 5,000 homes.
Indonesia’s Mount Semero erupted on Sunday, sending a mile-high cloud of hot ash and rivers of lava flowing down its flanks, prompting the evacuation of about 2,000 people after dozens were killed, exactly a year after its last major eruption. gave birth to
The eruption from the highest mountain on Indonesia’s main island of Java, about 800 kilometers southeast of the capital Jakarta, prompted authorities to raise the alert status for the volcano to the highest level.
Villages around Semero were being destroyed by a mixture of volcanic ash and monsoon rains. Videos shared with AFP by a local rescue group showed a huge black cloud rising from the volcano, covering the sky and blocking out the sun.
A resident described panic as ash clouds descended on their village.
“It was dark, I couldn’t see anything. There was rainwater and ash,” the man, who did not want to be named, told AFP.
“I didn’t know where to take shelter. I had to run.”
Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Abdul Mehri said “hot avalanches” triggered by lava piles at the summit fell down the 3,676-meter-high mountain.
A spokesman for Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) told broadcaster Compass TV that the high alert level meant local villages were at risk.
However, no loss of life or property was reported on Sunday after the PVMBG warned nearby residents not to travel within eight kilometers of the crater.
The geological agency said Semero was “still in the eruption phase” by evening, although the ash cloud was shrinking in size.
“Overall activity is still very high,” it said in a statement.
According to an AFP journalist, internet was down in the area and phone signals were poor after the explosion.
Mount Simero last erupted exactly a year ago, killing at least 51 people and damaging more than 5,000 homes. Source: Getty / AGUS HARIANTO/AFP via Getty Images
BNPB said 1,979 people have been evacuated to 11 shelters, with at least six villages affected by the eruption.
Local administration official Inda Ampravati Masdar said that residents will be allowed to return home only when the hot clouds clear.
Residents were also told to avoid an area 13 kilometers southeast along a river in the direction the ash was traveling.
The majority of residents in the two villages most at risk have been evacuated, said Patria Doi Hastiadi, spokeswoman for the Lomaging Disaster Mitigation Agency.
Locals fled on motorbikes, some carrying their belongings three at a time, while others helped the elderly get out safely. One resident was covered in mud that fell on him as a mixture of rain and ash.
The Japan Meteorological Agency had earlier warned that the eruption that affected the southern islands of the country’s Okinawa Prefecture could trigger a tsunami, Kyodo News Agency reported. But the Japan Meteorological Agency later said no significant sea changes were observed.
Semero last erupted exactly a year ago, killing at least 51 people and damaging more than 5,000 homes.
The disaster filled streets with mud and ash that engulfed homes and cars, forcing nearly 10,000 people to seek shelter.
Semero’s alert status remained at its second-highest level since the last major eruption in December 2020.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the meeting of continental plates causes considerable volcanic and seismic activity.
The Southeast Asian peninsular country has about 130 active volcanoes.