Mount Semeru: Alert after the eruption of the volcano in Indonesia


Indonesia raised its warning to the highest level on Sunday after Mount Semeru, a volcano in its East Java province, erupted, prompting the evacuation of nearby residents.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the plume from the volcano had reached 15 kilometers (about 50,000 feet) in the air.

The agency said in a statement on Sunday that it was monitoring the possibility of a tsunami, but no significant changes in tide levels had been observed at observation points in Japan and overseas.

The Indonesian Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) advised people not to carry out activities within 5 kilometers (about 3 miles) of the summit of Mount Semeru and said nearly 100 residents had been evacuated.

No injuries or deaths have been reported so far.

Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, PVMBG, said in a statement that the alert level for volcanic activity had been raised to the highest Level IV from Level III.

A pyroclastic flow rolls down the slope of Mount Semeru during an eruption in Lumajang, East Java.

Mount Semeru, which lies about 800 kilometers southeast of the capital Jakarta, began erupting at 2:46 a.m. local time Sunday (2:46 p.m. ET Saturday), according to BNPB. Videos shared by BNPB showed nearby villages blanketed in gray ash.

The evacuation of people, including children and the elderly, living near the volcano in East Java province is underway with 93 residents so far evacuated to shelters, Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency said. , BNPB in a statement seen by the Reuters news agency.

With the alert level raised, authorities warned residents not to carry out any activity within 8 km (5 miles) of the center of Semeru’s eruption, adding that clouds of hot ash had reached up to 11.8 miles (19 km) from the center of the eruption.

PVMBG chief Hendra Gunawan said the agency sees the potential for a greater supply of magma this year compared to previous eruptions in 2021 and 2020.

“Therefore, hot clouds from Semeru could reach farther (this year) and at that distance there are many residences,” he said.

Mount Semeru belches smoke and ash in Lumajang on December 4, 2022.

Java is the largest population center of the huge Indonesian island archipelago and home to the capital, Jakarta. Rising to over 12,000 feet above sea level, Mount Semeru is the highest mountain in Java.

The eruption on the eastern part of Java follows a series of earthquakes on the western part of the island, including one last month that killed more than 300 people.

The late November deadly earthquake that hit Cianjur in West Java was a shallow quake with a magnitude of 5.6. A much deeper earthquake on Saturday in Gurat with a magnitude of 6.1 caused people to flee buildings but caused no major damage.

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