At least 15 people died in the eruption of the Semeru volcano in the Indonesian province of East Java on Saturday, according to a new casualty record released by authorities on Monday that is still trying to estimate the personal and material damage from the tragedy.
Local civil protection agency chief Wawan Hadi has confirmed that 68 people were treated with burns following the outbreak, which also left large areas of a mixture of ash and mud. Local media images show houses practically covered.
More than 1,500 people remain on the run and seek protection in places such as mosques or official buildings. Authorities deployed a humanitarian aid operation to help these victims, most of whom had to flee in a hurry on Saturday.
The ash fall and the collapse of a bridge connecting the Lumajang district, Ground Zero of the tragedy, with the city of Malang have made aid difficult in the past few hours. The youngest victims to be found include a woman and her daughter, whose bodies were found devoured in the rubble of their home, according to the news portal Kompas.
The volcano, at 3,700 meters the highest mountain on the island of Java, erupted in December last year and caused a wave of evacuations similar to that of this weekend
Indonesia is located in the so-called ‘Ring of Fire’ of the Pacific, so there is often high seismic activity and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur regularly.