Indonesian volcano eruption sparks evacuation of tourists
More than 1,100 people evacuated as 2,000-metre column of ash spews from ‘Child of Rinjani’ volcano on Lombok island
Indonesian authorities are searching for several hundred tourists after Mount Barujari on Lombok island spewed a massive column of ash into the atmosphere.
More than 1,100 others have been evacuated, the country’s disaster agency said on Wednesday.
The volcano, also known as the “Child of Rinjani” because it sits within the Mount Rinjani caldera, erupted without warning on Tuesday afternoon, delaying flights from airports in Lombok and nearby Bali.
The ash column reached 2,000 metres.
A Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said nearly 400 foreign and local tourists had been registered since Sunday to climb the mountain, leaving from the Sembalun monitoring post, about 11km from the crater.
“We are still searching for about 389 other tourists, mostly foreign tourists, to find out their condition and to evacuate them immediately,” Nugroho said. There have been no reports of injuries.
The eruption interrupted flights for several hours at Ngurah Rai international airport in Bali, about 135km from Lombok, and Selaparang airport in Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province, on Lombok Island.
Farms and trees around the 3,726-metre volcano were coated in a thin layer of grey ash, but nearby towns and villages were not in danger, Nugroho said.
Rinjani is among about 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia. The archipelago is prone to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes because of its location on the Pacific “ring of fire”.