In total, 34 people lost their lives in the destructive eruption of the Indonesian volcano Semeru, according to a latest report established on Tuesday. “17 are missing,” said Abdul Muhari, spokesperson for the disaster management agency.
The eruption on Saturday covered with ash and devastated more than a dozen villages. The death toll had reached 22 dead the day before and dozens of injured, many with burns.
Streams of burning mud
The highest peak of the island of Java threw a vast plume of ash on Saturday and caused waves of burning mud and clouds of ash that invaded villages located on its flanks. Entire streets were filled with piles of gray ash and mud, covering trucks or houses up to the roof.
Rescuers work in difficult conditions to search for survivors and bodies, among debris, mud and ash. Dogs were sent to help them in their efforts.
Thousands of houses and buildings damaged
The volcano shows intermittent activity, with several eruptions every day of lesser magnitude since the weekend, and more than 3,500 inhabitants had to be evacuated from the area. Thousands of homes and buildings were damaged including 24 schools, according to provisional data from the AHA Asean Disaster Management Center.
Authorities have asked residents not to approach within five kilometers of the crater, as the air saturated with ash dust in the area is dangerous for vulnerable people.
The Semeru, which rises to 3,676 meters, has known many eruptions in recent decades but rarely so destructive. Indonesia is located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where the meeting of the continental plates causes high seismic activity. The Southeast Asian archipelago has nearly 130 active volcanoes.