JAKARTA, Dec 4 (Reuters) – A volcano erupted in Indonesia on Sunday, sending a plume of ash 15 kilometers into the sky and forcing the evacuation of nearly 2,000 people, officials said, as they searched areas in the east. has issued its highest warning for Java Island.
There were no immediate reports of casualties from the eruption of the Semero volcano, and Indonesia’s transport ministry said air travel was not affected, but two regional airports were alerted.
“Most of the roads have been closed since this morning and now the ash from the volcano is raining and covering the view of the mountain,” community volunteer Biodani Alfaianto told Reuters by telephone from near the volcano. Told to
Java’s highest mountain, Semero, erupted last year, killing more than 50 people and leaving thousands homeless.
Indonesia’s disaster management agency (BNPB) said 1,979 people had been moved to 11 shelters and authorities had distributed masks to residents. The explosion began at 2:46 am (Saturday 1946 GMT) and rescue, search and evacuation efforts were underway.
Ash from the volcano reached a height of 50,000 feet (15 km), said Japan’s Meteorological Department, which was initially on alert for the possibility that the volcano could trigger a tsunami. It was later rejected.
The eruption, about 640 kilometers (400 miles) east of the capital Jakarta, followed a series of earthquakes in western Java, including one last month that killed more than 300 people.
Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazards Mitigation, PVMBG, raised the volcano’s activity level to the highest level and warned residents not to come within 8 kilometers (5 miles) of Semero’s eruption center. .
He said the hot ash cloud had drifted about 12 miles (19 km) from the epicenter.
PVMBG head Hendra Ganavan said that the volcano could produce a larger volume of magma than previous eruptions in 2021 and 2020, which could mean a greater risk to a larger area.
“The warm cumulus clouds can reach further and some distance where there are many habitats,” he said.
In a video sent to Reuters by police in the area, villagers were seen walking away from the volcano’s slopes, some carrying supplies on motorcycles. A destroyed bridge was covered in volcanic ash.
With 142 volcanoes, Indonesia has the world’s largest population living near a volcano, with 8.6 million people living within 10 kilometers (6 mi) of one.
The deadly West Java earthquake in late November had a magnitude of 5.6 but was shallow. Saturday’s 6.1-magnitude quake sent people fleeing buildings but caused no major damage or loss of life.
Reporting by Stefano Suleiman and Angie Teo in Jakarta; Additional reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto in Tokyo; Edited by William Mallard and Lincoln Fest
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