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Monday, January 24, 2022

Indonesia Raises Alarm About Semeru Volcano Fearing Another Eruption

JAKARTA, Indonesia. Indonesian authorities have raised the danger level for the tallest volcano on the island of Java, saying Mount Semeru could explode again after a sudden eruption earlier this month that killed 48 people and 36 went missing in villages that were buried in layers of mud.

The Geological Agency of Indonesia said on Saturday that it has increased activity that could trigger an avalanche of lava and scalding gas similar to the December 4 eruption, preceded by heavy monsoon rains that partially destroyed a lava dome at 3,676 meters (12,060 meters). stop) mountain.

According to Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arifin Tasrif, about 8 million cubic meters (282 million cubic feet) of sand from the volcano’s crater has littered the Besuk-Kobokan River, which is in the path of the lava flow.

“As a result, if another eruption occurs, it will block the flow path and create new lava flows spreading into the surrounding area,” Tasrif said, adding that the government has created a new hazard map and urged people to obey it. He raised his alertness level to the second highest.

Mount Semeru is visible in the Lumajang region of East Java, Indonesia on December 18, 2021 (Hendra Permana / AP Photo)

Andiani, head of the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, said villagers living on the fertile slopes of Semeru are advised to stay 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the crater mouth. It also stopped tourism and mining activities in the Besuk-Kobokan watershed.

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Search and rescue operations ended on Friday and 36 people remain missing. More than 100 people were injured, 22 of them received serious burns. More than 5,200 homes and buildings were damaged, according to Abdul Mukhari, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

After visiting the area last week, President Joko Widodo has pledged to rebuild infrastructure, including the main bridge connecting the worst-hit city of Lumajang with other cities, and to move some 2,970 homes out of the danger zone.

Semeru, also known as Mahameru, has erupted many times over the past 200 years. Yet, like many of the 129 monitored volcanoes in Indonesia, tens of thousands of people live on its fertile slopes. The last eruption took place in January with no casualties.

An archipelago of over 270 million people, Indonesia is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity as it sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a series of horseshoe-shaped fault lines.

Author: Niniek Carmini

Associated Press

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