UPDATES WITH CASUALITES, STATEMENTS BY OFFICIALS; REVISES HEADLINE, DECK; EDITS THROUGHOUT
By Pizaro Gozali Idrus
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AA) – At least one person has been killed and dozens injured after Indonesia’s Semeru volcano erupted on Saturday, belching out thick clouds of smoke and ash that blanketed villages and sent residents scrambling for safety.
Videos shared by authorities and broadcast on local news channels showed people running as massive plumes of smoke and ash rose from the towering volcano in East Java province.
Indah Masdar, deputy chief of Lumajang district, told a news conference that one person died and 41 people suffered burns.
She said around 400 families were moved out of nearby areas, but at least 10 people remain trapped in places difficult for rescuers to reach.
Camps are being set up for the evacuated people, according to Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB).
BNPB chief Suharyanto said two helicopters have been mobilized for evacuation efforts.
However, operations being hampered by thick smoke, the official said.
The eruption started at around 3.20 p.m. (0820GMT), according to the agency.
Mt. Semeru, which stands 3,676 meters (over 12,000 feet) above sea level, previously erupted in December 2020 and January this year.
Indonesia, an archipelago home to nearly 275 million people, sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an area with several fault lines, making it prone to frequent volcanic activity and earthquakes.