At least 11 dead and 12 missing after Marapi volcano erupts in Indonesia

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At least 11 people are dead and 12 are still missing after Sunday’s eruption of the Marapi volcano on the island of Sumatra, while rescuers are searching for another 12 missing people amid continuing volcanic activity.

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A total of 75 people, all Indonesian nationals, were in the area when the eruption took place, of whom 49 were evacuated between last night and early this morning, Abdul Malik, head of the rescue team, said in a statement on Monday,

The process of rescuing the missing had to be interrupted on Monday due to new minor eruptions, up to eight, Arief Pratama of the national search and rescue organisation (Basarnas) told the media on Monday.

Of the 49 evacuees evacuated after the volcano experienced a strong eruption on Sunday, which sent a plume of ash and smoke 3,000 metres above its crater, “some have returned to their homes and others have been admitted to two hospitals in the area,” Malik said.

The national disaster management agency (BNPB) said it was continuing to monitor the volcano to take “quick action and manage the evacuation of residents if there is a new major volcanic activity”.

The eruption, which lasted 4 minutes and 41 seconds, happened at around 14.54 local time on Sunday, the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG) said in a statement at the time.

The volcano had been at alert level three – the second-highest in a range of four – since Friday, and the outburst on Sunday was captured by residents of nearby towns, who posted videos on social media of the huge plume of smoke spewing from the volcano, which caused a shower of ash in the area.

The Merapi volcano, with a peak of 2,891 metres and whose name translates as “Mountain of Fire”, is the most active volcano on the island of Sumatra.

Indonesia is home to more than 400 volcanoes, of which at least 129 are still active and 65 are classified as dangerous.

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The Indonesian archipelago sits within the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of high seismic and volcanic activity that is shaken by some 7,000 earthquakes a year, most of which are of low magnitude.

-Thailand News (TN)

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