Deadly Mount Semeru Volcano Erupts: 14 Dead, 16 Injured

Hazardous conditions have been reported at Indonesia’s Mount Semeru, a volcano that has been erupting since Friday.

At least 14 people are dead and 16 have been injured from the eruption, which is the volcano’s first in 32 years. Semeru is one of Indonesia’s 34 active volcanoes, which has more than 4,000 active volcanoes in total.

The latest eruption spewed high levels of ash and gases high into the air on Saturday, which have prevented rescue helicopters from reaching many of the injured, Indonesian media reports.

It’s not clear what caused the eruption, but a period of strong monsoon winds, or even forest fires, can alter the intensity of volcanic activity, according to seismologists.

In 2016, Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra erupted, leaving at least five people dead.

Indonesia has strict rules for visitors to prevent the spread of infectious diseases if large numbers of people suddenly are forced to leave a volcano or tinderbox on the slopes.

“You cannot tour or be a tourist with the government officials, not at all. If you are in your own private property, you are allowed to. If you are in a training mission, then all government employees, all police, all soldiers, all militaries,” said Didi Sutaling, a spokeswoman for the General Staff of the Indonesian armed forces, according to the BBC.

Click here for updates from the AP.

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