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13 dead and dozens injured after Indonesia's Mount Semeru volcano erupts

At least 13 people have died and dozens injured after Mount Semeru erupted on Indonesia's densely populated island of Java on Saturday.

Officials said ninety-eight people were injured in the eruption— including two pregnant women — and 902 had been evacuated.

A statement released by Abdul Muhari, from Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) said only two of the 13 people who died have been identified.

TOPSHOT - An area is seen covered in volcanic ash at Sumber Wuluh village in Lumajang on December 5, 2021, after the Semeru volcano eruption that killed at least 13 people. (Photo by JUNI KRISWANTO / AFP) (Photo by JUNI KRISWANTO/AFP via Getty Images)
Smoke rises from an area covered in volcanic ash. Source: AFP
Villagers salvage their belongings in an area covered in volcanic ash at Sumber Wuluh village in Lumajang on December 5, 2021, after the Semeru volcano eruption that killed at least 13 people. (Photo by JUNI KRISWANTO / AFP) (Photo by JUNI KRISWANTO/AFP via Getty Images)
Villagers salvage their belongings in the aftermath. Source: AFP

Semeru is over 3600 metres high and is one of Indonesia's nearly 130 active volcanoes. It erupted in January 2021, causing no casualties.

Thoriqul Haq, a local official in Lumajang, said earlier that sand miners had been trapped around their work sites.

BNPB said at least 35 people had been hospitalised, while Lumajang's deputy head said 41 people suffered burns.

The eruption has left villages covered with ash and left people fleeing from debris. Footage shared on social media shows people running from billowing clouds engulfing the area.

According to Indah Amperawati, deputy head of Lumajang District, an area close to the volcano, at least 300 families were evacuated following the eruption.

In a press conference on Saturday, Ms Amperawati said emergency services have been unable to reach several other villages due to roads being blocked by mud and fallen trees.

BNPB reported that volcanic ash from hot cloud avalanches was observed in surrounding areas as well as and smelled of sulfur. Darkness due to fog from volcanic ash was also reported.

The eruption severed a strategic bridge connecting Lumajang with the city of Malang and wrecked buildings. Source: EPA/ AP
The eruption severed a strategic bridge connecting Lumajang with the city of Malang and wrecked buildings. Source: EPA/ AP

Access between Lumajang and Malang severed

The release said the spread of hot clouds from Mt Semeru also caused several houses to be covered with volcanic material and the Gladak Perak bridge in the Kobokan Bulk, which became the access link between Lumajang and the nearby city of Malang, has collapsed.

Indonesia straddles the "Pacific Ring of Fire", a highly seismically active zone, where different plates on the earth's crust meet and create a large number of earthquakes and volcanoes.

Separately, an earthquake of magnitude 6.0 struck north of Halmahera on Sunday, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said.

Halmahera is about 2000km northeast of Semeru.

With AAP

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