At least one person has died and dozens of others are injured following the eruption of Mount Semeru in Indonesia.
Several villages around the volcano were blanketed with falling ash, while an accompanying thunderstorm moved lava and debris further around the volcano and formed thick mud that destroyed at least one bridge connecting two main villages of Pronojiwo and Candipuro.
One person is confirmed to have lost their life as a result of the eruption while 41 burn injuries have also been reported, according to the deputy district chief of nearby Lumajang, The Guardian reports.
Thoriqul Haq, the Lumajang district head, reportedly told TVOne that several hundred people had moved to temporary shelters or left the area to find safety elsewhere, though he noted that the destruction caused by the eruption had hampered the evacuation efforts.
He commented: ‘Thick columns of ash have turned several villages to darkness.’
The country’s disaster mitigation agency, BNPB, said thick smoke had also disrupted evacuations.
Campbell Biggs, a meteorologist at the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) in Darwin, Australia, told BBC News the 15,000 metre plume of ash was a ‘pretty significant increase in intensity’, as Semeru was known to regularly spew ash up to about 4,300 metres.
Biggs noted that the ash cloud was higher than the cruising altitude for most aircraft, meaning many flights would have to divert their paths to avoid it. The meteorologist added that the ash cloud should slowly dissipate.
Semeru, which is the highest volcano on Java, last erupted in January, though there were no casualties reported in that event. Following the eruption today, local authorities set up a restricted zone within 5 km (3 miles) from the crater.
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