Following the weekend's tragic eruption of Indonesia's Semeru volcano, search and rescue attempts have been halted due to poor weather, as officials monitoring the mountain have recommended caution following the weekend's deadly explosion.
Semeru, located in eastern Java, spewed towering columns of ash and smoke into the air on Sunday, obliterating adjacent towns and killing 14. Additionally, dozens of people were injured.
On Monday morning, officials from Indonesia's disaster agency conducted a helicopter assessment of the impacted area, releasing photographs on Twitter of once-verdant fields submerged beneath the ash. On the ground, military officers, police officers, and citizens dug their hands into the mud to retrieve victims.
Like many Indonesians, the head of the Semeru Volcano Observatory, who goes by the moniker Liswanto, cautioned people to remain a safe distance from the mountain, despite reports that concerned villagers had gone to their homes to check on their valuables and animals.
"The status of Mount Semeru remains at level 2, which means that people should remain vigilant because the potential threat remains," he explained.
Over 50 persons sustained injuries, the majority of which were burnt due to the eruption. Additionally, lava flows destroyed a bridge that connected two villages in the adjoining district of Lumajang to Malang.
In the Sumberwuluh area, where two trucks were partially buried by volcanic ash, recovery efforts came to a halt due to strong winds; a witness told Reuters.
Dewa Arya, the search and rescue agency's spokesperson, said Monday that his crew was attempting to extract a family of five but had been hampered briefly by inclement weather.
Over 1,000 individuals have sought refuge in evacuation centers.
Hundreds of assistance packages containing food, blankets, and clothing, as well as other essential supplies, have been dispatched to the area, and a trauma therapy team to assist children traumatized by the eruption is also on its way, according to CNN Indonesia.
Semeru is one of more than 100 active volcanoes in Indonesia, located in the Pacific "Ring of Fire," a zone of high seismic activity created by the collision of several tectonic plates.