Java Island's tallest active volcano Semeru erupted on Sunday, killing 13 people and injuring dozens as clouds of hot ash blanketed nearby villages in the East Java province. The eruption severed a strategic bridge connecting two areas in the nearby district of Lumajang with the city of Malang and wrecked buildings, authorities said.
98 people, including 2 pregnant women have been injured and 2 of the 13 deceased have been identified according to BNPB official Abdul Muhari who works for Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency. So far 902 people have been evacuated while 10 people who were trapped after the eruption have been rescued, the agency said, as quoted by Reuters.
Many of those who had been caught up in the eruption were sand miners who lived and worked around the Lumajang province, authorities said. Lumajang district head Thoriqul Haq told TVOne that the thunderstorm triggered by the eruption had formed a thick mud from the lava and debris that hampered rescue efforts in certain areas.
Indonesia is situated in the highly seismically active area known as the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and houses around 130 active volcanoes. Semeru erupted in January this year with no casualties.
Separately, an earthquake of magnitude 6 struck north of Halmaherain Indonesia on Sunday, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said. Halmahera is about 2,000 km (1,200 miles) northeast of Semeru.