More than 2,000 residents (mostly pregnant women, babies, older adults and under-five children) have been evacuated to temporary shelters amid heightened volcanic activity in a volcano in eastern Indonesia, a local official said on Jan 2.
Mount Lewotobi Laki-Laki in East Nusa Tenggara province has erupted several times in recent weeks, including an eruption on Jan 1 that spewed volcanic ash 1.5km above its peak, according to the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation.
The agency recorded another eruption from Lewotobi Laki-Laki on Jan 2 but ash clouds from the volcano were not observed, it said in a statement.
Volcanic ashes from recent eruptions have affected two sub-districts near Lewotobi Laki-Laki mountain, prompting more than 2,000 residents to evacuate to temporary shelters set up by local governments, Mr Benediktus Bolibapa Herin, an official for East Flores district, told AFP on Jan 2.
“There are 1,931 evacuees in the Wulanggitang (sub-district) and 328 evacuees in the Ile Bura (sub-district),” Mr Herin said, adding that the number of evacuees could rise as more people seek safety from the volcano.
“Due to the increase in (Mount Lewotobi Laki-Laki’s) status, the communities must be relocated to safe zones to anticipate unwanted things.”
The authorities on Jan 1 raised the volcano’s status to the second-highest of Indonesia’s four-tiered alert levels and expanded the exclusion zone from 2km to 4km around its crater.
The volcano’s ashes also forced Frans Seda Airport, located more than 80km away, to close since Jan 1, state news agency Antara reported.
Major eruption of Semeru volcano
The camera is situated about 8km southeast of the volcano. The view is from the northwest. The sound is live from the camera source. Occurred on December 27, 2023
Semeru, the highest volcano on Java (3,676m 12,060ft), and one of its most active, lies at the southern end of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. The steep-sided volcano, also referred to as Mahameru (Great Mountain), rises above coastal plains to the south.
Frequent 19th and 20th century eruptions were dominated by small-to-moderate explosions from the summit crater, with occasional lava flows and larger explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows that have reached the lower flanks of the volcano.
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