Sunday 17 January 2021

Spare a thought for Indonesia! Mount Semeru, on the most densely populated island of Java, spews hot clouds 4.5 kilometres high with another 9 volcanoes erupting or showing activity and 73 dead and hundreds injured from recent quake and a further 33 dead from flood disasters

RSOE Alert Map showing the population density of the Semeru region.

Mount Semeru, the highest volcano on Indonesia's most densely populated island of Java, spewed hot clouds as far away as 4.5 kilometres (nearly 3 miles) on Saturday. There were no immediate evacuations, but the National Disaster Mitigation Agency warned people who live in the villages on the slopes of the 3,676-meter (12,060-foot)-high mountain to be vigilant in looking for signs of danger. Agency spokesperson Raditya Jati said that people around the river basin on the slopes of the mountain should beware of high rainfall intensity that can trigger lava floods.
Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center did not raise Semeru's alert status, which already had been at the third-highest level since it began erupting in May. The volcano spewed hot ash for 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) in early December, triggering panic among villagers. Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 250 million people, sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Government seismologists monitor more than 120 active volcanoes. A strong earthquake shook Indonesia's Sulawesi island early Friday, killing at least 46 people.
Credit, Volcano Discovery

Along with the eruption of Mount Semeru, Indonesia's Mount Sinabung, Merapi, Lewatolo, Mount Ibu and Mount Dukono is also erupting with a further 3 showing activity.

Meanwhile, at least 56 people have been killed after an earthquake struck Indonesia’s West Sulawesi province on Friday, their 2nd major quake of 2021, the disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) said on Sunday, the latest in a string of disasters to hit the Southeast Asian country. More than 820 people were injured and about 15,000 left their homes after the 6.2 magnitude quake, the BNPB said. Some sought refuge in the mountains, while others went to cramped evacuation centres, witnesses said.

Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Indonesia’s meteorological, climatology and geophysical agency (BMKG), has said that another quake in the region could potentially trigger a tsunami. Straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is regularly hit by earthquakes. In 2018, a devastating 6.2-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck the city of Palu, in Sulawesi, killing thousands.

Just two weeks into the new year, the world’s fourth-most populous country is again battling several disasters. Floods in North Sulawesi and South Kalimantan province each have killed at least five this month, while landslides in West Java province have killed at least 28, authorities said.

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