Semeru volcano on high alert after eruption: The danger threatens populated areas

Eva Deschamps / December 4, 2022

The Semeru volcano, on the island of Java in Indonesia, erupted on Sunday and the authorities have declared maximum alert, one year after a deadly disaster.
The Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Prevention (PVMBG) has raised the alert level of Mount Semeru from level three to level four, the highest, its spokesperson Hendra Gunawan told Kompas TV.
This means that the danger threatens populated areas and that the activity of the volcano has intensified," he explained.
Located in the east of the island of Java, of which it is the highest point with an altitude of 3,676 meters, Mount Semeru spewed Sunday a cloud of ash about 1.5 km high.
No casualties were reported immediately after the eruption, but Gunawan advised nearby residents to stay at least 8 km away from the crater.
Authorities also asked people to avoid a 13 km area along a river, toward  which the volcanic ash cloud was moving.
Shelters were set up to house displaced people, and authorities distributed masks to nearby residents to protect them from air pollution by the ash.
Videos circulating on social networks showed plumes of smoke rising from Mount Semeru and at least one village covered in ash and bathed in a dark haze.
After the eruption, the Internet was cut and the cell phone network was down, according to a journalist from AFP.
For its part, the Japanese Meteorological Agency warned of a possible tsunami, caused by the eruption of the Indonesian volcano, around 14:30 in the islands of Miyako and Yaeyama, in the extreme south of the Japanese archipelago, according to the Kyodo agency. An hour later, however, no damage had been reported.
The last eruption of Mount Semeru, in December 2021, had killed at least 51 people. Mud and ash flows had engulfed entire villages and nearly 10,000 people had to flee their homes.
Indonesia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the meeting of continental plates causes strong volcanic and seismic activity. The Southeast Asian archipelago has about 130 active volcanoes.
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