Indonesia’s Semeru volcano erupts, killing and injuring thousands of residents fleeing

Mount Semeru, a volcano in Indonesia’s East Java province, erupted again on the afternoon of April 4 after a nearly year-long absence, killing at least one person and seriously injuring 41 others and forcing thousands of people to flee nearby.

Authorities said two people were reported missing and eight others were trapped inside a building. More than 300 families took refuge in temporary shelters in the village of Curah Kerobokan in Lumajang district, East Guava province, after their homes were destroyed by volcanic ash and lava.

Local authorities said residents of other neighboring villages fled in a hurry as cold lava and volcanic ash reached their communities.

(Video and audio source: Evolution Crisis YouTube channel)

After an hour-long search, rescuers found the remains of one person in the village of Curah Kerobokan.

Indah Masdar, deputy chief of Lumajang district, said 41 people were severely burned by the hot lava, and two of the injured were pregnant women. She added that external traffic in Lumajang was disrupted by the cold lava flow that destroyed a bridge.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Response Agency said it had sent a rescue team to assist victims in temporary shelters, but thick debris from the volcano’s ash prevented them from reaching their destination.

A video released by Indonesia’s Meteorological, Climate and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) shows residents, including dozens of children, fleeing in panic after the 3,676-meter Semeru volcano erupted at 3 p.m. local time on April 4. The smoke erupted to a height of 12,000 meters and lava flowed down to a distance of 500 meters away from the crater.