Ground-level witness videos of Mount Semeru eruption show devastation of Indonesian villages

Mount Semeru’s volcanic eruption

Dozens have either gone missing, become injured or died after Mount Semeru’s volcanic eruption over the weekend devastated the Indonesian island of Java.

Unexpected videos: Indonesians living near the volcano in Lumajang Regency recorded the disastrous event and uploaded footage of plumes of rising smoke, ash that looks like snow and streams of flowing hot mud to TikTok, reported Vice.

  • A video from user novanhendri510 went mega-viral with over 67 million views, showing people clambering out of their homes as massive gray smoke clouds loom in the distance.
@novanhendri510 #semeru ♬ suara asli – novanhendri510

  • Hefty ash columns rising up to 40,000 feet in the air, as well as a mix of gas and lava, hit several surrounding villages in the area, according to NPR.
  • A witness told Agence France-Presse that the villagers were lucky they were able to breathe because of the heavy rainfall at the time of the eruption: “Locals here thought it was just usual floods. We did not know it was hot mud. All of a sudden, the sky turned dark as rain and hot smoke came.”
  • Authorities and residents dug through thick swaths of mud with their hands to rescue victims.
  • The Southeast Asian country’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation confirmed that Semeru erupted again on Monday.
@canyouhearmevy #prayforlumajang #erupsisemeru #staysafe #semeru #lumajang ♬ เสียงต้นฉบับ – San Indy – MaKCaK

Volcanic location: The volcano erupted earlier this year in January, but its eruption was not as catastrophic as the one over the weekend. The cause of the most recent one was a severe thunderstorm, lasting several days, which wore down the volcano’s lava dome.

  • Indonesia is an archipelago country that sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where multiple moving tectonic plates cause high seismic activity such as earthquakes and volcanoes, according to Reuters.
  • The nation itself has over 100 active volcanoes, with Semeru being Java’s tallest and one of its most active, having had 55 eruptions since 1818.
  • While about 2,000 people have been evacuated, rescue teams continue to struggle due to bad weather, pyroclastic clouds and other environmental concerns.
  • “Hot volcanic cloud is dangerous for the team safety,” Operational Chief of Search and Rescue I Wayan Suyatna told CNN. “The weather here is also really bad. [It is] dark and rainy.” 
  • The Indonesian government said it is readying relocation for displaced villagers. The National Board for Disaster Management will supply monetary aid in the meantime. Almost 3,000 homes were destroyed. 

Featured Image via @novanhendri510 (left), @canyouhearmevy (right)

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