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At Least 13 Dead, 41 Suffer Burn Injuries After Indonesia's Semeru Volcano Erupts

© AFP 2021 / HANDOUTThis handout photo taken and released on January 16, 2021 by the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) shows Mount Semeru spewing ash during an eruption in Lumajang, East Java.
This handout photo taken and released on January 16, 2021 by the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) shows Mount Semeru spewing ash during an eruption in Lumajang, East Java. - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.12.2021
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The eruption, which began earlier today at 2:30 pm local time, has displaced thousands of people living in the area nearby. Footage posted on social media showed crowds of people running away from the volcano as a massive ash cloud rose up behind them.
Some 41 people suffered burn injuries following an eruption of the Semeru volcano in Indonesia, Reuters reported, citing Indah Masdar the deputy chief of the Lumajang district. Budi Santosa, head of the Disaster Management of East Java Province, said his team is now trying to conduct evacuations in the area near the volcano, while preparing accommodation and food for those have been displaced by the eruption. It was later reported that some 10 individuals had been rescued.
Latest figures from the Disaster Management Agency revealed that the death toll from the eruption jumped to 13. It had previously stood at at least one.
He stressed that two districts in the East Java province have been "badly affected" by the incident, without elaborating on the names of the districts. Local media reported that some individuals are trapped in areas that are inaccessible for rescuers. Evacuation efforts are being hampered by massive thick clouds of smoke.
Nicknamed "The Great Mountain" in Sanskrit, Semeru is among Indonesia’s 130 active volcanoes and is located in one of the most densely populated provinces. This is the second eruption this year. The previous one occurred in January and caused no casualties.
Videos posted online show residents of East Java fleeing the area in panic.
The eruption was accompanied by rain, which resulted in the formation of thick mud composed of lava and smouldering debris. The mud destroyed a bridge connecting the two main villages of Pronojiwo and Candipuro.
AirNav Indonesia, which controls Indonesian airspace, has issued a warning to airlines over the plume of ash in the sky, which has risen to 50,000 feet (15,000 metres).
Last year, a brief eruption of Semeru forced around 1,000 people from their homes.
Indonesia sits on two continental plates, known as the Ring of Fire, making the country prone to high seismic activity.
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