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Indonesia’s Mount Marapi eruption claims 11 lives, prompts urgent safety measures amid sustained volcanic activity

Mount Marapi in West Sumatra erupted, spewing ash and volcanic material, signaling sustained heightened activity since January 2023. The alert status remains at level II, emphasizing the potential for explosive eruptions.

Local authorities swiftly responded, initiating evacuations and distributing masks to mitigate health risks from volcanic ash.

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WEST SUMATRA, INDONESIA: Mount Marapi, situated in the administrative regions of Agam and Tanah Datar Regencies in West Sumatra, erupted on Sunday (3 Dec) at approximately 2:54 pm local time.

This volcanic peak, standing at an elevation of 2,891 meters above sea level, is a prominent feature in the Agam and Tanah Datar areas.

The eruption was characterized by the expulsion of a column of ash carrying volcanic materials up to 3,000 meters from the crater’s summit, accompanied by a resounding roar.

Seismograph recordings from the Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG) indicated the eruption’s maximum amplitude at 30 mm with a duration of 4 minutes and 41 seconds.

The Head of the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) of Agam Regency, Bambang Wasito, confirmed the Mount Marapi eruption in a telephone conversation, as reported by the National Board for Disaster Management

He described the ash column rising prominently, visible from Agam.

Responding to the eruption, the Agam Regency BPBD team promptly mobilized to the areas nearest to the peak, namely Sungai Pua District and Canduang District.

Bambang reported their immediate actions, stating, “Currently, I and the Agam Regency BPBD team are traveling to the two sub-districts closest to Puncak. Our Control and Operations Center (Pusdalops) team is already in these two locations.”

Additionally, Ade Setiawan from the BPBD Agam Regency Control and Operations Center (Pusdalops) team relayed that volcanic ash rain occurred in the Nagari Lasi area, Canduang District, Agam Regency.

Ade described the severity of the ash rain, noting its density and darkness in Nagari Lasi.

Upon reaching the affected location, the Agam Regency BPBD team, in collaboration with the Indonesian Red Cross, distributed masks to the community and urged them to remain indoors due to the potential health impacts of the volcanic ash rain.

Ade reported, “The ash rain was quite dense and dark in Nagari Lasi, Canduang. Now it has stopped.”

Furthermore, volcanic ash rain affected the Sungai Pua District, albeit with lower intensity and shorter duration, attributed to the wind direction favoring the Canduang District area.

Online videos circulated depicting thick volcanic ash emanating from Mount Marapi, providing visual evidence of the eruption’s impact on the surrounding areas.

11 climbers dead, 12 missing amidst eruption, prompting intensive search and rescue efforts

On Monday (4 Dec), a tragic incident unfolded on Mount Marapi in West Sumatra, as 11 climbers were discovered deceased.

The Head of the Padang National Search and Rescue Agency, Abdul Malik, conveyed the somber news, revealing that by 07:00 am, 11 climbers had been confirmed as casualties, while three others were reported safe.

The identities of the deceased climbers remain unknown, and efforts are underway to evacuate their remains from the mountain’s summit.

Abdul Malik provided insight into the aftermath, indicating that the rescue teams are actively engaged in the challenging task of recovering the victims.

As the evacuation process unfolds, the broader community awaits updates on the identity of the fallen climbers and the circumstances surrounding their tragic fate.

The distressing incident occurred against the backdrop of Mount Marapi’s eruption on Sunday (3 Dec) afternoon.

The eruption left a total of 75 climbers stranded, prompting swift and coordinated rescue operations.

On the evening of the eruption, 49 individuals were successfully evacuated to safety, a testament to the dedicated efforts of the rescue teams.

However, despite the initial success in rescuing a significant number of climbers, the situation remains grim as 12 individuals are still unaccounted for.

The ongoing search and rescue operations are now focused on locating and ensuring the well-being of these remaining climbers.

Mount Marapi’s ongoing eruption prompts heightened alert and urgent safety measures amidst sustained volcanic activity

Mount Marapi’s recent eruption on Sunday (3 Dec) underscores the sustained signs of heightened volcanic activity that have been observed since January 2023, according to additional information from PVMBG (Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation).

The consistent escalation in volcanic indicators has maintained the alert status at level II, signifying the potential for explosive eruptions at any time.

The internal monitoring instruments, primarily located at the peak, have detected a slight increase in activity, suggesting a relatively proximate pressure source beneath the peak or below the crater.

An earlier comprehensive analysis and evaluation until 16 November 2023, had already placed Mount Marapi at Level II (Alert), aligning with updated recommendations to address the latest potential threats.

Consequently, it is strongly advised that individuals residing in the vicinity of Mount Marapi, as well as visitors and tourists, refrain from engaging in activities within a three km radius of the crater or peak.

This precautionary measure aims to mitigate the potential risks associated with the volatile volcanic conditions.

In light of the heightened alert level, the public is urged to remain calm and avoid being influenced by unverified rumors regarding Mount Marapi’s eruption.

Compliance with directives from the Regional Government is essential for the safety of the community.

Additionally, in the event of ashfall, individuals are advised to wear masks when leaving their homes to minimize the adverse health effects of volcanic ash exposure.

Practical precautions, such as wearing hats, glasses, jackets, and masks, are emphasized due to the prevalence of ash in the wind.

Moreover, the community is encouraged to secure clean water facilities and diligently clean the roofs of their houses to prevent potential collapse under the weight of accumulated volcanic ash.

These proactive measures contribute to the overall resilience and preparedness of the community in the face of Mount Marapi’s dynamic volcanic activity.

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The mountains was angry! Too much trash desecrating the mountain trail!

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