Mount Merapi Eruption: 11 Hikers Lose Their Lives in the Wake of Eruption

Team Climate Science
3 Min Read

Indonesian rescuers have discovered the bodies of 11 hikers following the eruption of Mount Merapi, a volcano located in West Sumatra. The eruption, which occurred on Sunday, forced the evacuation of numerous hikers and locals living on the slope of the mountain. Three survivors were found on the volcano, while 12 climbers remain missing, prompting a search and rescue operation to locate them.

The volcano, known as the Fire Mountain in Indonesia and Java, emitted a three-kilometer ash column upon eruption, leading to the closure of two climbing routes and the establishment of an exclusion zone around its crater. The alert level for Mount Merapi was maintained at the third-highest of four levels, and residents living on the slopes of the volcano were advised to stay 3km (1.8 miles) from the crater’s mouth due to the potential threat of lava.

According to Abdul Malik, the head of Padang Search and Rescue Agency, there were a total of 75 hikers on the mountain from Saturday. “There are 26 people who have not been evacuated, we have found 14 of them, three were found alive and 11 were found dead,” Malik detailed. Rudy Rinaldi, head of the West Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency, stated that some rescued hikers were receiving medical treatment, particularly for burns sustained due to the intense heat

Mount Merapi, which stands at 2,891 meters, is considered the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548. The Indonesian archipelago, situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, experiences heightened volcanic and seismic activity due to the convergence of continental plates.

The eruption of Mount Merapi sent ash plumes more than 3,000 meters into the air, blanketing several villages and blocking sunlight. No casualties were reported among the residents, but the falling ash and pyroclastic flows, a mixture of rock, lava, and gas, posed a significant danger to those in the vicinity of the volcano.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity due to its location along the Pacific Ring of Fire. Mount Merapi’s last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people and caused the evacuation of 20,000 villagers. The recent eruption has once again highlighted the ongoing risk posed by the active volcano and the importance of ongoing monitoring and preparedness efforts to ensure the safety of those living in its vicinity.

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