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Thousands Flee Indonesian Mount Semeru Volcano Eruption

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The Indonesian volcano Mount Semeru erupted on Saturday, sending a tower of smoke and ash into the night sky and forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes.

Indah Masdar, deputy chief of the Lumajang district in East Java, said that one person was killed and 41 people suffered burn injuries.

Emergency officials shared videos showing residents running as plumes of smoke and ash blanketed nearby villages in the area about 90 kilometres south of Surabaya.

The residents of Lumajang were evacuated after lava reached nearby villages and destroyed a bridge.

“Several areas went dark after volcanic ash covered them,” Abdul Muhari, spokesman for the national disaster mitigation agency said.

Several shelters are being constructed in Lumajang.”

As Mount Semeru erupted on Saturday afternoon at 3 pm local time, footage released by the agency showed scores of local children running for safety.

Following the eruption, local authorities established a restricted zone of five kilometres around the crater.

The alert status for Semeru remains at its second-highest level since its previous major eruption in December 2020, which also forced thousands to flee and covered villages with ash.

Indonesia is located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide, causing high volcanic activity and earthquakes.

Nearly 130 active volcanoes exist in Southeast Asia’s archipelago nation.

A volcano erupted in late 2018 in the strait between Java and Sumatra, causing an underwater landslide and tsunami that killed more than 400 people.

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