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Volcano in Indonesia: After Mount Semeru erupts, rescue workers dig through thick layers of hot ash

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Mount Semeru, one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, erupted on Saturday, releasing hot ash and volcanic gas into the air. which turned the sky into darkness over the villages in the Lumajang district of East Java.

At least 15 people have died and 27 others are missing Command post for the emergency response of Mount Semeru. More than 1700 people was evacuated through 19 makeshift centers, the group said in a statement.

Nearly 3,000 homes and 38 schools were damaged by the debris, the statement said. tha. The blast also destroyed a bridge connecting Lumajang with neighboring Malang district, blocking access from the main road and hampering rescue efforts, he added.

Maulana Ardiansyah, a volunteer from the Baznas Search and Rescue team, told CNN that the group found three bodies – a man, a woman and a child – submerged in cold lava in the village of Kampung Renteng. Monday morning.

The evacuees included hundreds of villagers living near a dam that exploded Monday due to cold lava and heavy rain, Operational Search and Rescue Chief Wayan Suyatna told CNN.

He added that Monday’s search operation was forced to halt twice because of pyroclastic clouds – a mixture of ash, rocks and volcanic gases that could be far more dangerous than lava.

“The hot volcanic cloud is dangerous for the safety of the team,” Suyatna said. “The weather here is also very bad. (It is) dark and rainy.”

Villagers rescue what they can from their damaged homes in Sumber Wuluh Village in Lumajang on December 6, 2021.

Video released Monday by Indonesia National Disaster Management Board (BNPB) shows mudslide-filled mud stretching for miles around the volcano. The villages have been completely abandoned and vehicles remain submerged in mud, while thousands of trees are covered with a layer of ash dust.

Local resident Hosniya, 31, told Reuters the blast caught her by surprise.

“At first I thought it was a bomb blast … it suddenly went dark, as if it were going to destroy the earth,” she said.

Hosniya was evacuated with her family, but they were unable to take anything with them other than their official documents, Reuters reported.

Members of a search and rescue team conduct a search operation for missing people in Sumberwuluh village on December 6, 2021.

In the village of Sumberwuluh, where 16 houses were buried under ashes, residents ran to evacuate their cattle by truck on Sunday. The roofs of some of the village houses had collapsed, leaving bricks and metal rods exposed.

The aftermath of the blast was also felt among some residents of the villages of Kobokan and Kanjar late Sunday. They were later evacuated to a shelter in a nearby neighborhood.

The Indonesian government said it was preparing a relocation process for villagers who lost their homes from the blast. The BNPB said it would provide them with financial assistance before the government relocates them.

A man rides a bicycle beyond damaged houses in Sumber Wuluh village in Lumajang on December 6, 2021.

Indonesia is located between two continental plates in what is known as the Ring of Fire, a belt around the Pacific Ocean basin that leads to high levels of tectonic and volcanic activity.

In January, Mount Merapi erupted on the island of Java, throwing a cloud of ash that made authorities warn of the danger of lava reaching the streets. The volcano erupted violently in 2010, killing more than 350 people.

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