LUMAJANG, KOMPAS.com — The death toll following the eruption of the highest volcano on Indonesia’s Java island has risen to 14, with seven people still missing, officials said Sunday, December 5 as smoldering debris and thick mud hampered search efforts.
“Another villager died from severe burns, bringing the death toll to 14 on Sunday. Before, 13 villagers have died,” National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari told a press conference on Sunday afternoon.
He said that 56 people have been injured, including 35 in severe burns.
He also said rescuers were still searching for seven residents and sand miners along a river in Curah Kobokan village who were reported missing.
Entire houses in the village were damaged by volcanic debris and more than 900 people fled to temporary government shelters, Muhari said.
Mount Semeru in Lumajang district in East Java province spewed thick columns of ash more than 12,000 meters into the sky, and searing gas and lava flowed down its slopes after a sudden eruption Saturday, December 4, triggered by heavy rains. Several villages were blanketed with falling ash.
A thunderstorm and days of rain, which eroded and finally collapsed the lava dome atop the 3,676-meter Semeru, triggered the eruption, said Eko Budi Lelono, who heads the geological survey center.
He said flows of searing gas and lava traveled up to 800 meters to a nearby river at least twice on Saturday. People were advised to stay 5 kilometers from the crater’s mouth, the agency said.