Indonesia raises volcano warning to highest after Semeru erupts, evacuates 90 people

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Indonesian authorities raised the warning on Semeru volcano on the island of Java to the highest level on Sunday (Dec 4) after an eruption spewed a column of ash high into the air.

The evacuation of people, which includes children and seniors, living near the volcano in East Java province had also begun with 93 residents so far evacuated to shelters, Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency, BNPB said in a statement.

The eruption on the eastern part of Java, about 640km east of the capital Jakarta, follows a series of earthquakes on the west of the island, including one last month that killed more than 300 people.

Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) raised the level of volcanic activity to IV from III, its chief said in a text message.

The increased threat level “means the danger has threatened the people’s settlement and the volcano’s activity has escalated,” PVMBG chief Hendra Gunawan said.

He added that the agency saw the potential for a bigger supply of magma this year compared to previous eruptions in 2021 and 2020.

“Therefore Semeru’s hot clouds could reach further (this year) and at that distance, there are many residences,” he said.

With the raised alert level, authorities warned residents not to conduct any activities within 8km of Semeru’s eruption center, adding hot ash clouds had reached as far as 19km from the center of the eruption.


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