Major Volcanic Eruption in Indonesia: Mt Semeru Spews Hot Ash Clouds and Lava, Casualties Reported

The highest peak of Java Island, Mount Semeru, has erupted on Saturday afternoon (4/12/2021).

This is a developing news. The content of this article may be changed as new information are coming in.

Nusantara Pol - Indonesia Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) observed two incandescent lava avalanches from Mount Semeru with a sliding distance of approximately 500 meters to 800 meters. 

"Two incandescent lava avalanches were observed with a sliding distance of approximately 500 to 800 meters," said PVMBG Officer Yuda Prinardita Pura in a written statement, as quoted from InfoPublik, Saturday (4/12/2021).

Thick volcanic cloud can be observed on the background as a result of Mount Semeru eruption (4/12/2021). (Photo: InfoPublik)
Thick volcanic cloud can be observed on the background as a result of Mount Semeru eruption (4/12/2021). (Photo: InfoPublik)

Mount Semeru, located in Lumajang Regency, East Java Province, erupted and spews colossal hot clouds and thick volcanic ash on Saturday afternoon (4/12/2021). Hundreds of residents in Sumberwuluh Village, Lumajang Regency, East Java, reportedly began to flee and immediately evacuate due to the incident.

Volcanic ash rain has caused several areas in Pronojiwo and Candipuro sub-districts to be dark as night. The local government will open evacuation posts in Kamar Kajang and Pronojiwo area. 

Yuda has asked the public not to move within a one-kilometer radius of Mount Semeru's crater. 

The public has also been told to not approach within five kilometers radius to the crater opening in the southeast-south sector and to be aware of hot clouds avalanches, lava, and lahars along rivers or valleys that flow from the top of Mount Semeru.

The restriction radius will be evaluated continuously to anticipate changes in the threat of danger. In addition, the public is also asked to stay away from areas affected directly by hot cloud material because currently the temperature is still high and to be aware of the additional hot cloud slides along the valley of the Besuk Kobokan.

"Be aware of the threat of lahars in the river channel or valley that originates in Mount Semeru considering the large amount of volcanic material that has been formed," Yuda said. 

Mount Semeru, which has a height of 3,676 meters and is the highest peak on Java Island, was reported to have started erupting at approximately 15.00 Western Indonesia Time. Intense volcanic activities in the form of hot clouds avalanches and volcanic ash rain were visually confirmed by Semeru Volcano Observational Post.

Based on data from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), Mount Semeru experienced increased volcanic activity with hot clouds falling towards Besuk Kobokan, Pronojiwo District, Lumajang Regency, East Java, at approximately 15.20 WIB.

There have been no reports of casualties.  Casualties has been reported. Dozens are injured and at least one person has died. Visually, Mount Semeru is still covered in fog accompanied by moderate-intensity rain. Meanwhile, the relevant agencies are still recording the material losses and other impacts from the Mount Semeru eruption.

Additionally, there has been no report of flight disruption.

"As of 17.30 Western Indonesia Time today, there is no significant impact from the eruption of Mount Semeru on the operation of flight navigation services by AirNav Indonesia, both at the Surabaya Branch, Denpasar Branch, Semarang Branch, Yogyakarta Branch and Solo Branch," said Rosedi, Corporate Secretary of AirNav Indonesia, as quoted from InfoPublik, Saturday (4/12/2021).