Among the COVID-19 crisis, one major volcano just erupted in Indonesia killing 14 so far and injuring dozens. Mount Semeru, one of Indonesia’s Volcanoes in East Java, violently erupted sending lava, ash, and pyroclastic flows across the region. Located along a subduction zone, Semeru is the highest mountain on the island of Java. Semeru being apart of the famous, ‘Ring of Fire’ also means that the seismic activity is increased also which means the region could face earthquakes as a side effect of the eruption. The region was hit with increased thunderstorm activity and increased rain activity that happened for a series of days. This surplus of water caused the lava dome atop the mountain to erode and collapse causing the eruption.
In terms of rescue operations, local Indonesian rescue crews have been doing everything they can to save as much people as possible, however, thick cold lava floods have halted rescuers from evacuating and searching for everyone in the affected area. Not only is the cooling lava an issue, but thick clouds of ash and smoke have plagued the nearby land and even sending some villages into darkness because the ash is too thick. The tents that rescuers have been setting up have also been halted by thick smoke and ash. The eruption also displaced nearly 3,000 families and also destroyed 38 schools. 27 individuals are also still missing since the eruption happened and the ash has affected the larger populace of around 60,000 people.
“At first, I thought it was a bomb explosion … suddenly it was all dark, like it was going to destroy the earth,” she said.Local resident, Hosniya.