Indonesia’s Mount Semeru on January 16 erupted and spewed hot clouds as far away as 4.5km into the sky above the country’s most densely populated island, Java. According to BBC, no immediate evacuations orders were issued, however, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (NDMA) warned that people who live in the villages on the slopes to be vigilant in looking for signs of danger. A video posted by the agency showed “hot clouds falling” from the volcano, looming over homes.
The NDMA said, “There has been a Falling Hot Cloud (APG) of Mount Semeru with a sliding distance of approximately 4.5 KM on Saturday”.
While speaking to the media outlet, local official Thoriqul Haq said that the villages of Sumber Mujur and Curah Koboan are located in the trajectory of the hot clouds. He informed that the residents of the Curah Kobokan river basin have been urged to watch for possible “cold lava” mudflow, which can be triggered by intense rainfall combining with volcanic material. Further, NDMA spokesperson Raditya Jati also reiterated the same and said that people around the river basin on the slopes of the mountain should beware of high rainfall intensity that can trigger “Lava floods”.
In another update, NDMA said, “The Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation stated that the status of Mount Semeru is still at level II or 'Alert', following the fall of the Hot Clouds (APG) which slid approximately 4 kilometres”.
Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi menyatakan status Gunung Semeru masih dalam level II atau 'Waspada', menyusul terjadinya Awan Panas Guguran (APG) yang meluncur sejauh kurang lebih 4 kilometer. Selengkapnya: https://t.co/vTpiVwuDuF#InfoBencanaBNPB #BNPBIndonesia pic.twitter.com/Rq9RVDBjU3— BNPB Indonesia (@BNPB_Indonesia) January 16, 2021
Meanwhile, with a population of over 27 crores, Indonesia is reportedly home to at least 130 active volcanoes because of its position on the ‘Ring of Fire’. The Ring of Fire is a belt of tectonic plate boundaries that circle the Pacific Ocean and are prone to frequent seismic activities. In 2018, a volcano in the strait between Java and Sumatra islands, Anak Krakatau erupted and caused an underwater landslide that later on unleashed a tsunami that killed hundreds of people.
Moreover, last month, following the detection of rumbles in Indonesia’s most active Mount Merapi volcano, the evacuation was also initiated. The authorities began evacuating the people who were living on the slopes due to increased volcanic activity. As per a PTI report, the head of Yogyakarta's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center, Hanik Humaida, cautioned that Mount Merapi volcano could erupt at any time and its clouds could unleash up to the height of 5 kilometres.