Climate and Environment

6 Dec 2021

27 Remain Missing as Volcanic Eruption Claims 22 Lives in Indonesia

27 Remain Missing as Volcanic Eruption Claims 22 Lives in Indonesia

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The Index Today — Rescue efforts and the search for bodies resume in Indonesia following the highest volcanic eruption on Java Island which left 22 people dead and 27 missing.

On Saturday, Mount Semeru in the Lumajang district of the East Java province unexpectedly erupted in flames as a result of heavy rains, emitting thick shafts of smoke and ash as high as 12,000 meters into the atmosphere.

Scorching gas quickly blanketed the areas surrounding the mountain, suffocating villages and killing or grievously injuring residents.

Abdul Muhari, spokesperson for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, stated that 56 people have been hospitalized after suffering serious burns. An estimated 3,000 houses and 38 schools have been reportedly destroyed in the aftermath of the disaster.

Rescue operations continued today in an attempt to find the 27 people who are still missing, after being temporarily halted on Sunday afternoon over fears of heavy rains exacerbating the already precarious conditions. The 12,060 foot-mountain erupted as a result of pressure buildup beneath a lava doom in the crater. However, the situation is nowhere near over as experts issue warnings of further expulsion of ash and debris. Over 2,000 villagers have already been relocated to makeshift shelters following the devastating eruption.

In the wake of the catastrophe, the Lumajang district authority has declared a month-long state of emergency lasting until January 3rd, 2022.