Jakarta. Mount Semeru in East Java erupted again on Sunday and spewed hot ashes that traveled as far as 13 kilometers from its crater.
The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center, or PVMBG, raised the alert level to the highest and warned residents in the affected areas to evacuate.
Volcanic materials such as lava and hot debris can spread eight kilometers from the summit, PVMBG Head Hendra Gunawan said in a statement.
The 3,676-meter Semeru in Lumajang is the highest mountain on Java Island.
Between midnight and noon on Sunday, Semeru erupted 13 times and sent hot debris until eight kilometers in the southeastern direction from the summit.
“The flying volcanic debris can change directions at any time depending on the wind,” Hendra said.
"If we compare to the previous data, the new showers of magma are bigger than before so that’s why the PVMBG raised the alert status and expanded the risky area for safety," he added.
Videos circulating on social media platforms show thick ashes blanketing several villages in Lumajang as villagers began to evacuate on motorcycles or pickups.
The eruption occurred on the first anniversary of the previous one that killed more than 50 people.
Lumajang District Head Indah Amperawati said residents from several villages like Supiturang, Kajar Kuning, and Sumberwuluh were evacuated to safer areas and gathered at schools and mosques to avoid hot ashes.
Sand mining in the river on the slope of Semeru is banned due to the risk of mudslides triggered by cold lava. During last year’s eruption, many trucks and sand miners were buried by mudslides.
"Even if the alert status returns to safe, I’m asking all sand mining activities along the Bondeli River to stop in case of unwanted events and because sand mining trucks could disturb the evacuation process," Indah told Antara news agency.
Gunungapi Semeru kembali muntahkan Awan Panas Guguran (APG) pada hari Minggu (4/12) sejak pukul 02.46 WIB, dengan kolom abu teramati berwarna kelabu dengan intensitas sedang hingga tebal ke arah tenggara dan selatan setinggi kurang lebih 1.500 meter di atas puncak. #Semeru #APG pic.twitter.com/v3mtSR4ILW— BNPB Indonesia (@BNPB_Indonesia) December 4, 2022