After the volcanic eruption of Mount Merapi in West Sumatra, 11 climbers’ remains were retrieved by Indonesian rescue crews. Ongoing search activities have resulted in the discovery of three survivors on the volcano, but the fate of the other twelve climbers is still unknown. Up to 22 people, according to conflicting reports, are still presumed missing.
Speaking on behalf of the local rescue agency, Jodi Haryawan, acknowledged the difficulties caused by the eruptions’ intermittent nature but reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to continuing rescue operations despite the risks involved. They resumed their search whenever it was deemed safe to do so. In an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP), Haryawan explained that the search had not been suspended.
Earlier on Monday, rescue personnel reported that 49 climbers had been safely evacuated; some of them were treated for burn injuries that they had incurred during the eruption.
The chief of the Padang Search and Rescue Agency, Abdul Malik, revealed that out of the 75 hikers who were on the peak on Saturday, 26 were still missing, 14 were found, and 11 were found dead.
Climbers were stranded and injured after Sunday’s eruption, which was highlighted by billowing plumes of white and grey ash, and volcanic ash swept across adjacent settlements. Zhafirah Zahrim Febrina, her father, and uncle are all currently hospitalized after being rescued. While on a hiking vacation, Febrina and eighteen of her companions were stranded, suffering both bodily and mental harm.
According to Ahmad Rifandi of Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center, locals in the area around Mount Merapi should stay at least 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) away from the crater’s entrance because of the possibility of lava flows. Two climbing routes were blocked after the eruption, and more than 160 people, including soldiers and police, were involved in the massive search and rescue operation.
According to Rudy Rinaldi of the West Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency, rescuers came across climbers drenched in volcanic rain and dust as they evacuated the area. Several of them had suffered burns and bruises from the scorching heat near the crater.
As ash plumes surpassing three thousand meters were ejected during the eruption, they engulfed multiple settlements and blocked the sun’s rays. Officials handed out face masks and suggested that locals protect their eyes from the ash of the volcano by wearing spectacles. The villages of Rubai and Gobah Cumantiang, which are located five or six kilometers from the peak of Merapi, are home to about 1,400 people.
The level of alert for Mount Merapi has been kept at the third highest level due to the increased volcanic activity that has occurred in the past few weeks. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the January incident that preceded this outburst. Being located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” Indonesia is particularly susceptible to earthquakes and other forms of seismic activity. The region is home to over 120 active volcanoes and fault lines, which provide a constant danger.