Ash and Terror: Mount Marapi’s eruption turns day into night in Indonesian villages
Indonesia’s Mount Marapi unleashed a dramatic eruption on Sunday, sending white-and-gray ash plumes soaring into the sky. The eruption resulted in climbers being stranded and several villages being blanketed with volcanic ash.
The Indonesian Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center, represented by Ahmad Rifandi, advised residents living on Marapi’s slopes to maintain a distance of 3 kilometers from the crater due to potential lava flows. Two climbing routes were closed post-eruption, impacting about 75 climbers who had started their ascent on Saturday. Around 26 climbers were still awaiting rescue, with a large rescue team, including police and soldiers, deployed for the operation.
Hari Agustian, an official at the local Search and Rescue Agency in Padang, West Sumatra province, reported that eight of the rescued climbers were hospitalized with burn wounds, and one also suffered a broken limb. Social media videos depicted the evacuees in a shelter, covered in volcanic dust.
The eruption sent ash plumes more than 3,000 meters high, and hot ash clouds spread over several miles. Abdul Muhari, spokesperson for the National Disaster Management Agency, described how falling ash blanketed several villages, blocking sunlight. Protective measures like masks and eyeglasses were distributed to residents to shield them from the volcanic ash.
Approximately 1,400 people reside on Marapi’s slopes, particularly in the villages of Rubai and Gobah Cumantiang. Despite the eruption, Marapi’s alert level remains at the third-highest of four, indicating ongoing close monitoring by authorities.
Marapi, part of Indonesia’s more than 120 active volcanoes, has been active since a January eruption. It lies on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” known for its frequent seismic and volcanic activity.