Java Island’s highest peak rose on Saturday to disperse ash clouds that turned into rivers of mud burning in the rain, destroying a dozen nearby villages and causing thousands to flee.
“The updated balance sheet shows 34 deaths and 17 missing,” a spokesman said of Saturday’s blast. More than 3,500 residents were evacuated from the area.
Entire roads were covered with ash and mud, trucks and houses were buried on the roof. The city of Kura Kobokan, closest to the crater, was devastated by the ash burning, which was fatal to many residents.
Marzuki Suganda, 30, who worked in a sand mine in the area, said, “I was hurt, I asked my parents if they had the courage to go back to Kura Kobokan and they said no, they sleep under a tree.” I like it.” , “When the explosion happened, I thought we would die.”
Thousands of homes and buildings, including 24 schools, were affected, according to provisional figures from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s Center for Humanitarian Assistance for Disaster Management (AHA Centre).
Rescuers work in difficult conditions in search of survivors and bodies in rubble, mud and ashes. Although they have dogs to help them, the dangers of volcanoes, unstable terrain and rain are slowing down their efforts.
The volcano maintains an intermittent activity, with several eruptions every day, but of lesser magnitude since the weekend.
Officials urged residents not to move closer than five kilometers to the crater, as the air filled with ash and dust is dangerous for vulnerable people.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has promised the government will help those who cannot return home because of the risk of an explosion. Referring to 2,000 homes, he said, “I hope that when things calm down, we can fix the infrastructure and look at the possibility of moving houses from areas considered dangerous.”
Semeru, located at an altitude of 3,676 meters, has erupted several times in recent decades, but few have been as devastating.
Indonesia is in the so-called Pacific Circle of Fire, where the meeting of tectonic plates causes a great deal of seismic activity. There are about 130 active volcanoes in the Southeast Asian archipelago.
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