Jakarta, Dec 4 (EFE).- Mount Semeru, an active volcano located in the southeast of the Indonesian island of Java, erupted to spew a column of gray ash 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) into the sky on Sunday, authorities announced.
Since 2:46 am, monitoring cameras have captured Mount Semeru spewing clouds of gases and water vapor with a considerable amount of ash of moderate to thick intensity, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said.
The eruption of Semeru, which is 3,676 meters high and one of the most active volcanoes in the country, triggered panic among the residents of the nearby Lumajang village.
Videos posted on social media showed people fleeing hurriedly from their homes.
So far, no casualties or damage to property have been reported.
Emergency teams are monitoring the situation to control any possible risk posed by the eruption.
“We are already at the monitoring post. The hot cloud avalanches are currently still ongoing with a distance of between 5-7 kilometers. Our monitoring post is approximately 12 kilometers from the summit,” the head of emergency of Lumajang Regency, Joko Sambang, said in a statement.
The authorities have also warned residents not to carry out activities in the vicinity of the volcano and nearby riversides due to the risk of lava flows.
Joko said that preliminary observations showed that the volcanic ash was rising and tending towards south.
Emergency teams have also distributed free masks among the local residents.
The Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said that the volcano’s volcanic activity remained at Level 3 – the second highest – and issued an orange alert for planes circulating in the region.
This alert is declared when the volcano “is exhibiting heightened unrest with increased likelihood of eruption with column height below 6000 meter above sea level,” according to the agency.
A year ago, an eruption of the Semeru claimed more than 40 lives while injuring dozens and led to the displacement of more than 5,000 people.
The Indonesian archipelago sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, a highly seismic zone with 127 active volcanoes.
Thousands of tremors occur every year, most of them of low magnitude. EFE