New Straits Times

MOUNT SEMERU ERUPTION DEATH TOLL RISES TO 34

17 people still missing, says national disaster agency

- JAKARTA

THE death toll from the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Semeru volcano rose to 34 yesterday, the national disaster agency said, as aid was rushed to the affected region.

The biggest mountain on the island of Java on Saturday ejected a mushroom of volcanic ash high into the sky and rained hot mud as thousands of panicked people fled their homes.

The disaster left entire streets filled with mud and ash, swallowing homes and vehicles.

“The latest update from the ground... (is) 34 people died, 17 are missing,” the disaster agency spokesman Abdul Muhari said.

Almost 3,700 have been evacuated from the affected area, he added.

Rescuers have been battling dangerous conditions since the deadly weekend eruption, searching for survivors and bodies in the volcanic debris, wrecked buildings and destroyed vehicles.

Search crews deployed dogs yesterday to aid the operation.

Mount Semeru has remained active since Saturday, with small eruptions keeping emergency workers and area residents on edge.

There were three small eruptions

on Tuesday, each spewing ash around a kilometre into the sky, authoritie­s said.

Officials have advised locals not to travel within 5km of Semeru’s crater, as the nearby air is highly polluted and could affect vulnerable groups.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the meeting of continenta­l plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity, and the country has nearly 130 active volcanoes.

 ?? PIC AFP ?? Rescuers at the Curah Kobokan village in Lumajang yesterday.
PIC AFP Rescuers at the Curah Kobokan village in Lumajang yesterday.

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