In Indonesia, the eruption of Mount Merapi on Sumatra Island early Sunday morning led to the evacuation of over 150 people. The volcano, known for its activity, spewed a significant amount of volcanic ash, affecting nearby communities.

Indonesia’s Mount Merapi Erupts Again, Forces Evacuation as Ash Spreads Over Sumatra
(Photo : Brigitte Werner from Pixabay)

Indonesia's Mount Merapi Erupts, Prompting Evacuations, Safety Measures

At 6:21 am local time, the eruption occurred, sending a dense ash cloud 1,300 meters (4,265 feet) into the sky, moving southwest of the volcano. This event raised concerns for those living near Marapi, particularly in valley areas and along riverbanks. The Indonesian volcanology agency has warned of the possibility of lava flows during the rainy season.

Following the eruption, the alert level for Mount Merapi was raised to the second highest. This increase in alert level necessitated the evacuation of a 4.5-kilometer (2.8-mile) radius surrounding the crater. Since Friday, according to The Manila Times, 158 villagers have relocated to safer areas, staying with family members. However, they have been permitted to return during daylight hours to tend to their homes and livestock.

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Local authorities, including Bambang Warsito, have advised residents within the 4.5-kilometer danger zone to avoid staying in their homes overnight. Emergency shelters have been prepared if needed. Additionally, to address health concerns, particularly respiratory issues caused by the volcanic ash, health posts have been established, and face masks are being distributed free of charge.

Mount Merapi, the most active volcano in Sumatra and one of Indonesia's approximately 130 active volcanoes, previously erupted in December. As per the news report, that eruption was larger, projecting ash 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) high. During that event, 75 hikers were present on the volcano; while many were rescued, 23 people lost their lives, and another passed away later in a hospital.

Indonesia frequently experiences seismic and volcanic activity due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an area where tectonic plates meet and move, often causing natural disasters. Marapi stands out as one of the most active volcanoes in the Indonesian archipelago.

Volcano Tourism Rises in Indonesia Despite Dangers

Tourism in Indonesia is seeing a lot of people climbing mountains, even active volcanoes. In 2020, the Indonesian Mountain Guides Association reported that 150,000 tourists from other countries and three million from Indonesia went mountain climbing. Mount Merapi in Central Java is a favorite spot, even though it's an active volcano.

Tourists enjoy jeep rides and watching the sunrise at these spots. But these places can be risky. For example, Mount Merapi suddenly erupted. This incident show the dangers of visiting active volcanoes.

Travel and Tour shared that Indonesia, which has 127 active volcanoes, is trying to make these trips safer. They have early warning systems and safety barriers. But predicting when a volcano will erupt is hard. The eruption at Mount Merapi was unexpected.

Tourists and travel agencies are advised to always follow safety rules. It's important to stay away from active volcanoes and to travel with guides who know about safety. The growth of volcano tourism in Indonesia brings money, but keeping visitors safe is very important.

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