Residents on alert following Mount Semeru eruption in East Java

Volvanic ash cloud from the eruption of East Java’s Mount Semeru on Jan. 16, 2021. Photo: National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB)
Volvanic ash cloud from the eruption of East Java’s Mount Semeru on Jan. 16, 2021. Photo: National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB)

Residents of nine sub-districts located near the slopes of East Java’s Mount Semeru have been put on alert after the volcano spewed clouds of ash and gas over the weekend.

On Saturday, Java’s highest volcano — and one of the island’s most active — erupted at 5:24pm, sending volcanic matter some 5.6 kilometers into the sky. Plumes then rolled down the volcano, blanketing parts of Lumajang regency, where it’s located, and the nearby Probolinggo regency in ash.

“It was reported that nine sub-districts were affected by volcanic ash. Right now it has subsided,” Probolinggo Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) official Anggit Hermanuadi said yesterday.

No casualties were reported and no evacuation order has been issued, but residents in the area have been urged to remain cautious for further volcanic activity.

The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) today urged the public to keep a distance of at least 1 kilometer from Semeru’s crater and at least 4 kilometers south and southeast of the crater due to the ongoing threat of hot clouds and other volcanic matter.

Semeru, a popular hiking destination, last erupted on Dec. 1, 2020, leading to the evacuation of thousands. The volcano has been rumbling since October 2017.

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