Volcano erupts in Indonesia just days after devastating earthquake and tsunami

Devastation in Indonesia.
(Image credit: Screenshot/The New York Times)

A volcano erupted in Indonesia on Wednesday, affecting the same island afflicted by a devastating earthquake and tsunami just days ago, The Associated Press reports.

More than 1,200 people have died since Friday, when a magnitude 7.5 earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that brought 20-foot waves to central Indonesia. The New York Times reports that local officials are struggling to count the dead and arrange mass burial sites while continuing to search for survivors. Roads and bridges have been destroyed, making it difficult to disperse aid, especially in isolated regions.

As if things couldn't get worse, Mount Soputan erupted on Sulawesi island, the site of the earthquake's epicenter. Officials told AP that it's possible the earthquake triggered the volcano's eruption, but it's still unclear. Indonesia is on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," so seismic activity isn't unusual, and Soputan is a particularly active volcano. Residents within a few miles of the mountain have been warned to avoid the area.

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The greatest danger at the moment stems from the 19,700-foot plume of ash that arose from the volcano. Locals should don masks to avoid inhaling the ash, and planes have been advised to steer clear. Luckily, national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the ash wasn't affecting planes that planned to arrive in Indonesia to supply aid.

Watch the video below to see just how horrific the damage is in the city of Palu, via The New York Times. Summer Meza

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