Indonesia’s Mount Semeru volcano erupts, spewing ash into the sky and sparking panic
The highest volcano on Indonesia’s most densely populated island of Java has spewed thick columns of ash into the sky, triggering panic among people living nearby.
Mount Semaru’s eruption leaves surrounding towns and villages covered in volcanic ash
The eruption was followed by rain and storms which has formed thick mud
Television reports show people running in panic under a huge ash cloud
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Mount Semeru’s sudden eruption left several villages around its slopes blanketed with falling ash.
The eruption was accompanied by a thunderstorm and rain, which pushed lava and smouldering debris and formed thick mud that destroyed at least one bridge connecting two main villages of Pronojiwo and Candipuro.
It also hampered the evacuation, Lumajang district head Thoriqul Haq told local media.
“Thick columns of ash have turned several villages to darkness,” Mr Haq said,
He added that several hundred people were moved to temporary shelters, or left for safer areas.
Television reports showed people running in panic under a huge ash cloud, their faces wet from rain mixed with volcanic dust.
The 3,676-metre Semeru last erupted in January, with no casualties.
Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 270 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped series of fault lines.