Indonesia volcano: Death toll rises to two as ash fall spreads

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Workers use explosives to blast aside the tonnes of rock Image copyright EPA Image caption Workers and rescuers at Semeru have been scouring through piles of ash that…

Indonesia volcano: Death toll rises to two as ash fall spreads

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Workers use explosives to blast aside the tonnes of rock

Image copyright EPA Image caption Workers and rescuers at Semeru have been scouring through piles of ash that are the by-product of a collapsed crater. The epicentre of the latest eruption was 38km (24 miles) away

Large clouds of ash have swept over a resort island in Indonesia after a volcano erupted, leaving at least two people dead and nearly three dozen injured.

Volcanic ash clouds have since begun settling over the Mount Semeru sanctuary, where residents had taken refuge.

Rescuers are trying to dig out people trapped in a 15km-wide (nine-mile) lake and retrieve the remains of victims who have been buried under ash.

The volcano, located on the island of Java, first erupted on Friday, throwing dark grey ash about 25km (15 miles) into the air.

A man and a woman from the Philippines were killed when they were hit by the ash, while dozens of others were injured, according to Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

Rescuers had been warning it was a “dangerous situation” and that people should stay away from Mount Semeru.

Weeping villagers

Locals wearing masks had fled the vicinity of the volcano – which is more than 100km (60 miles) north of Jakarta – but many were forced to return after its latest blast on Sunday.

Many wept as they held candles while they shouted for loved ones.

They carried school bags, clothing and relatives’ books out of the slopes of the mountain.

“We have buried several people,” said Umemen, the owner of a temporary shelter.

“More people will come as day wears on and some people are still scared.”

Vehicles were lined up to reach the shelter, which is operated by the Red Cross.

Police, who handed out drinks and food, said they had received calls from other communities with people who wanted to go back to their homes.

Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said it was forecasting moderate to heavy rain on Banten island from Tuesday.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The eruption was more dangerous than the latest one in July, because it threw hundreds of tonnes of ash hundreds of metres into the air, making conditions worse for rescue efforts

The northern part of Semeru, popular with tourists and devout Muslims, was cut off from the rest of the island by a landslide after the volcano erupted in July.

Mount Agung, located on the neighbouring island of Bali, was first active in 1963, killing more than 1,600 people. It resumed erupting intermittently in 2014, mostly without causing serious damage.

On Sunday, the authorities lifted a local disaster alert at Mount Anak Krakatau, the giant volcanic crater that erupted on Wednesday, sending rocks, smoke and ash in all directions.

Their forces managed to contain the eruption to a part of the sea.

The warnings were first issued after the Kaepolangan lava lake in the crater rose by 20 metres overnight.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a series of fault lines that stretch from the western coast of North America through Japan and Southeast Asia and extend towards the Antarctic.

Have you been affected by an active volcano? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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