Indonesia volcano: Dozens injured as residents flee huge ash cloud from Mt Semeru

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One person has died and dozens are injured after a volcano erupted on Indonesia’s Java island, officials said on Saturday.

The inhabitants were filmed fleeing a considerable ash cloud of Mount Semeru.

Witnesses described nearby villages covered in rubble and thick smoke that blew the sun and left it in total darkness.

The deputy head of the Lumajang district set the number of injured people at 41 and said they had suffered burns.

Indah Masdar called for helicopters to rescue at least ten people trapped in buildings.

“We are in great need,” he said. “It’s shocking, and all their families are crying.”

The Indonesian Civil Protection Agency (BNPB) later announced that 35 people receive treatment at local medical facilities.

Evacuation efforts were hampered by suffocating smoke, power outages, and rainstorms during the outbreak that turned debris into the mud.

Thoriqul Haq, a local official, told Reuters that a road and bridge Of had been cut from the area to the nearby city of Malang.

“This has been a very urgent, fast condition since it broke out,” he said.

Officials say debris and lava mixed with rainfall formed thick mud that has hampered evacuation efforts.

Several hundred people were taken to emergency shelters or left behind in safer areas; local tvOne quoted him citing.

The outbreak took place around 14:30 local time (07:30 GMT). Local authorities have established a restricted area 5 km (3 miles) from the crater.

Airlines have been warned of an ash cloud rising to 15,000 m (50,000 ft).

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) in Darwin, Australia, said the ashes appear to have been shed from the summit and are drifting southwest across the Indian Ocean.

The VAAC advises the aviation industry on the location and movement of potentially hazardous volcanic ash.

Campbell Biggs, a VAAC meteorologist, told the BBC that the 15,000 m cloud was higher than the cruising altitude of most planes and would cause most nearby flights to divert their flight routes to avoid this.

Ash that solidifies in more excellent parts of aircraft engines can disrupt airflow, which can cause the engine to stall or fail altogether.

This also compromises the pilot’s visibility and can affect cabin air quality, requiring oxygen masks.

Mount Semeru was a reasonably active volcano that regularly spits ash at around 4,300 m. Therefore, Saturday’s outbreak was a “quite significant increase in intensity,” Biggs said.

“The ash cloud should slowly dissolve,” he said.

Mount Semeru rose 3,676 m above sea level and erupted last December, forcing thousands of residents to seek refuge.

It is one of the nearly 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

Indonesia is located in the Pacific “ring of fire”, where continental plates meet, frequent volcanic and seismic activity.

Emergency officials and local media shared videos that showed residents fleeing when giant ash.

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