Indonesian Volcano Eruption Leaves 11 Confirmed Dead, Several Suffering Burns

Indonesian Volcano Eruption

Indonesian Volcano Eruption, Around 75 climbers became stranded on Mount Merapi, which has erupted on several occasions in previous years.

Indonesian Volcano Eruption Leaves 11 Confirmed Dead

Indonesian Volcano EruptionThe search for 12 climbers in Indonesia was paused on Monday as Mount Marapi volcano erupted again, sending a huge burst of scorching ash as high as 800 meters into the air, officials said.

The remains of 11 climbers were recovered earlier in the day, but efforts to locate others were hampered by the resumed activity, according to Abdul Malik, the chief of West Sumatra’s Search and Rescue Agency. He stated that the search would restart whenever conditions improved.

The agency shared a video of rescuers escorting an injured climber on a stretcher off the mountain and into a waiting ambulance to be brought to the hospital.

On Sunday, Marapi erupted, unleashing clouds of burning ash.

Since 2011, the volcano has been at the third highest of four alert levels, signaling above-normal volcanic activity and forbidding climbers or villagers from approaching the peak within three kilometers, according to Hendra Gunawan, the head of the Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation.

“This means there should be no climbing to the peak,” Gunawan explained, adding that climbers were only permitted below the danger zone, “but sometimes many of them broke the rules to fulfill their satisfaction to climb further.”

Hundreds of Residents Have Been Affected by Smoke and Ash

Indonesian Volcano EruptionOn Saturday, over 75 climbers began their ascent of the nearly 2,900-metre mountain and became stranded. According to Hari Agustian, an official with the local Search and Rescue Agency in Padang, the West Sumatra provincial capital, eight of those rescued Sunday were sent to hospitals with burns and one had a fractured limb.

Before climbing, all of the climbers registered at two command stations or online with West Sumatra’s conservation agency, according to Agustian. He added it was likely that others took illegal roads or that local inhabitants were active in the region, but this could not be proved.

On Monday, rescuers prepared for a search and rescue mission after Mount Marapi erupted near Batu Palano hamlet in Agam.On Monday, rescuers prepared for a search and rescue mission after Mount Marapi erupted near Batu Palano hamlet in Agam.

During Sunday’s eruption, Marapi ejected dense columns of ash as high as 3,000 meters, and hot ash clouds extended over many kilometers. Tonnes of volcanic debris buried nearby villages and towns. According to a social media video, volcanic dust and rain covered the faces and hair of evacuated climbers.

Authorities distributed masks and recommended locals wear eyeglasses to protect themselves from volcanic ash, which blanketed many villages and obstructed sunlight. Around 1,400 people reside on the slopes of Marapi in the settlements of Rubai and Gobah Cumantiang, which are about five to six kilometers from the top.

Analyst: Forecasting Merapi Eruptions is Difficult

According to Gunawan, the Sunday eruption was not preceded by a large rise in volcanic earthquakes. Deep volcanic earthquakes were only detected three times between November 16 and Sunday, while the peak’s deformation equipment or tiltmeter revealed a horizontal pattern on the radial axis and a small inflation on the tangential axis.

“This shows that the eruption process is taking place quickly and the center of pressure is very shallow, around the peak,” the scientist stated.

Marapi has erupted on average every two to four years since 2004, according to Gunawan.

“Marapi eruptions are always sudden and difficult to detect using equipment because the source is near the surface,” said Gunawan, adding, “This eruption was not caused by the movement of magma.”

According to Abdul Malik, the head of West Sumatra’s Search and Rescue Agency, rescuers discovered 11 dead climbers while searching for those still missing and rescued three others on Monday morning.

“The evacuation process of the bodies and survivors is still ongoing,” he said, adding that rescuers are still looking for the 12 climbers who are supposedly still missing.

Marapi has been active since a January eruption that left no one dead. It is one among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is vulnerable to seismic activity due to its placement on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines that encircles the Pacific Basin.

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