Indonesia’s Mount Marapi Eruption Claims Lives of Eleven Hikers

Jakarta – Eleven hikers tragically lost their lives near the crater of Indonesia’s Mount Marapi following a weekend eruption, as confirmed by rescue teams. Amidst the aftermath, three individuals were successfully rescued on Monday, though the search for the remaining 12 missing hikers was halted due to a renewed eruption.

The eruption, which occurred over the weekend, led to the spewing of volcanic ash soaring as high as 3km (9,800ft) into the atmosphere. Fortunately, out of the 75 hikers present in the vicinity during the eruption, the majority were promptly evacuated to safety.

Mount Marapi, categorized among Indonesia’s 127 active volcanoes, has prompted authorities to enforce the second-highest alert level, prohibiting residents from approaching within 3km of the crater for safety reasons.

Abdul Malik, head of the Padang Search and Rescue Agency, revealed that the three survivors rescued near the crater were in a weakened state and had sustained burns. Additionally, forty-nine climbers were evacuated earlier on Monday, many grappling with burn injuries as well.

Distressing video footage captured the enormity of the eruption, displaying a vast cloud of volcanic ash blanketing the sky while roads and vehicles were coated in ash fallout.

The rescue operation unfolded amidst challenging conditions, with rescue workers navigating the demanding terrain to transport the deceased and injured down the mountain. Rudy Rinaldi, head of the West Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency, cited burn injuries among those rescued, highlighting the intense heat experienced during the eruption.

Amidst the turmoil, poignant moments emerged. An AFP news report recounted a rescued hiker expressing, “God is great,” while being carried by a rescuer, encapsulating the emotional turmoil amidst the tragedy.

Jodi Haryawan, spokesperson for the local search and rescue team, emphasized the perilous conditions, deeming it unsafe to continue search efforts while the volcano remained active.

Mount Marapi, standing tall at 2,891m (9,485ft) on Indonesia’s westernmost Sumatra island, serves as a sobering reminder of the volatility within the Indonesian archipelago. Situated within the notorious Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plate interactions fuel heightened volcanic and seismic activities, the region remains prone to such natural calamities.

Images captured the aftermath revealing not just the immediate vicinity around the volcano but also encompassing cars, roads, and entire nearby villages blanketed in layers of volcanic ash.

After the recent eruption, authorities heightened the alert level to the second-highest and enforced a strict prohibition on any activities within a 2-mile radius of Marapi’s crater. Ada Setiawan, a representative from Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), informed Reuters about the distribution of masks among residents, urging them to remain indoors for safety.

In addition, officials have shut down all climbing routes and trails in the area as a precautionary measure.

With the help of BBC and CNN

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