Mt Semeru situated on Java Island, Indonesia erupted on Saturday and since then the rescuers are searching for survivors in villages buried by hot ash.
According to the emergency authorities, about fourteen people have died and dozens are reported to be injured.
Also, one volunteer from the nearby district Lumajang filmed police and military officials working to dig out bodies with their bare hands. Numerous houses got buried to their rooftops and vehicles were fully submerged.
At least 11 villages located in East Java, Lumajang were covered with a blanket of volcanic ash. No less than 56 people have been injured, with many suffering burns after they mistook the hot mudflow for flooding.
The Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Indonesia, said the injured were taken to various hospitals and are given the medical treatment they need.
Moreover, the agency said about 1,300 people have been evacuated the area so far and 10 sand mine workers who were trapped in buildings have been saved. Also, rescue shelters have been equipped with food, face masks, tarpaulins and body bags.
The evacuation has been hindered by harsh smoke, a power blackout, and rainstorms during the eruption which turned the debris into the mud. A significant bridge from the affected area to the nearby city of Malang was also disengaged during the eruption.
According to the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) in Darwin, Australia the ash cloud from the eruption appeared to have dissipated.
The volcano is in a near-permanent state of eruption and often spews ash up to about 4,300m. Therefore, Saturday’s eruption was a “pretty significant increase in intensity”, said Campbell Biggs, a meteorologist at the VAAC.
Mt Semeru rises 3,676m above sea level and is among Indonesia’s almost 130 active volcanoes. The last time it erupted was in December 2020, forcing thousands of residents to take shelter.
The country is situated on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where continental plates meet, triggering recurrent volcanic and seismic activity.