fire in the sky
A volcano erupted on the Indonesian island of Java Saturday, killing one person and injuring 41, BBC reports. The eruption took place around 2:30 p.m. local time.
Indonesians living near Mount Semeru fled the area, and Budi Santosa, the head of disaster management for East Java, is working to ensure that they are provided with food, masks, and shelter. He told reporters he believes existing resources will be sufficient to care for the injured and displaced. CNN reports that at least 300 families have been evacuated.
Authorities have called for military support, especially helicopters to rescue people trapped in buildings. Local media outlets say ash has blotted out the sun and blanketed entire villages. First responders encountered difficulties in reaching the site due to the loss of electrical power and rainstorms that turned the dirt roads to mud. Airlines have been warned to avoid flying through an ash cloud that could be up to 50,000 feet high.
Mount Semeru is over 12,000 feet high and is named for the dwelling place of the Hindu gods. It has erupted at least 62 times since 1818, according to the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program.