Bad weather hampers search and rescue operations in an Indonesian volcano | volcano news

The National Disaster Agency is surveying the area from the air after Mount Semeru sent towering plumes of hot ash into the sky.

Search and rescue efforts were suspended after the eruption of Indonesia’s Semeru volcano due to bad weather, with officials monitoring the mountain urging caution after the weekend. fatal eruption.

Semeru, east of Java, sent towering plumes of ash and smoke into the air on Sunday, plunging nearby villages into darkness and killing 14 people. Dozens were injured.

Officials from Indonesia’s disaster agency surveyed the affected area by helicopter Monday morning, and posted photos on Twitter that showed previously green fields submerged under ash. On the ground, army and police officers and residents dug into the mud with their hands to try to extricate the victims.

The head of the Semeru Volcano Observatory, like many Indonesians, has warned people to keep a safe distance from the mountain, amid reports of anxious residents returning to their homes to check on their belongings and livestock.

“The state of Mount Semeru is still at level 2, which means that at this level, people need to be more vigilant because the potential threat is still there,” he said.

More than 50 people were injured in the blast, most of them burns. Lava flows also destroyed a bridge linking two districts in nearby Lumajang district and Malang city.

(Translation: Head of the National Disaster Management Unit Lieutenant-General Suhariyanto and his crew inspected the site affected by the collapse of hot clouds from Mount Semeru by helicopter)

And Reuters news agency quoted an eyewitness as saying that rescue efforts stopped abruptly in Sombroulu area, where two trucks were lying half-buried due to volcanic ash, due to high winds.

Dewa Arya, of the search and rescue agency, said Monday that his team was working to recover a family of five, but their efforts were temporarily hampered by bad weather.

More than 1,000 people have taken refuge in evacuation centers temporarily.

Hundreds of aid packages including rice, blankets, clothes and other basic necessities have been sent to the area, and a trauma treatment team to work with children affected by the eruption is also on its way, according to CNN Indonesia media.

One of more than 100 active volcanoes in Indonesia, Semeru is located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where a number of tectonic plates meet creating an area of ​​high seismic activity.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo