In what has been a tragic week for Indonesia, the country’s Mount Semeru, the highest volcano on Indonesia’s most densely populated island of Java, has erupted, pouring ash and smoke more than 5 kilometers into the sky above Java.
While no immediate evacuations have been made, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency has warned people who live in the surrounding villages on the slopes of the mountain to be vigilant and look out for signs of danger.
No evacuation orders have so far been issued, and no casualties have been reported.
The Agency spokesperson Raditya Jati said people around the river basic on the slopes of the mountain should also beware of high rainfall intensity that can trigger lava floods.
The Semeru mountain erupted at just past 5 p.m. local time. Videos uploaded on social media showed large clouds of grey ash towering over houses in the nearby village.
Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 250 million people, has around 120 active volcanoes currently throughout the country. It sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent volcanic activity as well as earthquakes and tsunamis.
The start of 2021 seems to be cursed for Indonesia, as it has been struck by several disasters in this last month. Just last week, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the West Sulawesi island on Friday, killing nearly 50 people. Hundreds were injured and around 15,000 people had to be evacuated.
At least five people in Manado, North Sulawesi, died from floods and landslides due to the unfavourable weather on Saturday. Last week, 11 people including some rescuers were killed, along with 18 injured in West Java after torrential rain caused mudslides.
On January 9th, in a tragic plane crash incident, the Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 carrying 62 people plunged into the Java Sea just four minutes after take-off from Jakarta. No survivors were found.