December 05, 2023 2 min read

Mount Marapi volcano spews volcanic ash as seen from Nagari Batu Palano in Agam, West Sumatra province, Indonesia, December 4, 2023.

In Indonesia's West Sumatra province, a highly active volcano, Mount Marapi, erupted, resulting in the tragic death of 13 climbers, with another 10 individuals reported missing. Indonesia, situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, boasts 127 active volcanoes, including Mount Marapi, considered one of the country's most active peaks. The eruption occurred on Sunday, propelling volcanic ash and massive smoke plumes skyward.

Efforts for search and rescue operations are ongoing, with recovery teams led by Abdul Malik working to bring down the bodies recovered from the mountain. Despite ongoing eruptions, a team of 40 rescuers remains committed to the mission. Miraculously, three climbers have been found alive. A total of 75 people, including climbers, have been successfully evacuated, and the injured have been transported to local hospitals.

Photographs from the affected region depict cars, roads, and entire villages blanketed in volcanic ash. Authorities have identified potential dangers stemming from the eruption, including the flow of molten lava reaching roads and nearby rivers. Mount Marapi, one of Sumatra's most active volcanoes, experienced its deadliest eruption in April 1979, claiming 60 lives.

In response to the recent eruption, authorities have raised the alert level to the second-highest and imposed a 2-mile exclusion zone around Mount Marapi's crater. Climbing routes and trails have been closed, and residents are advised to stay indoors. Masks have been distributed to the local population to mitigate the impact of volcanic ash.

The tragedy highlights the challenges posed by Indonesia's volcanic landscape, requiring continuous monitoring and preparedness measures. The incident serves as a somber reminder of the inherent risks associated with living in volcanic regions, emphasizing the importance of timely alerts, evacuation procedures, and safety measures to mitigate the impact of such natural disasters.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the volcano. It is Mount Marapi, not Mount Merapi.

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