Improved weather conditions Monday allowed rescuers to resume evacuation efforts and a search for possible victims after the highest volcano on Indonesia’s most densely populated island erupted, triggered by monsoon rains. Mount Semeru in Lumajang district in East Java province spewed thick columns of ash more than 1,500 meters (nearly 5,000 feet) into the sky Sunday. Villages and nearby towns were blanketed with falling ash, blocking out the sun, but no casualties have been reported. Read more: Strong quake shakes main Indonesia island; no tsunami alert Hundreds of rescuers were deployed Monday in the worst-hit villages of Sumberwuluh and Supiturang, where houses and mosques were buried to their rooftops by tons of volcanic debris. Heavy rains had eroded and finally collapsed the lava dome atop the 3,676-meter (12,060-foot) volcano, causing an avalanche of blistering gas and lava down its slopes toward a nearby river. Searing gas raced down the sides of the mountain, smothering entire villages and destroying a bridge that had just been rebuilt after a powerful eruption last year. Semeru’s last major eruption was in December 2021, when it blew up with a fury that left 51 people dead in villages that were buried in layers of mud. Several hundred others suffered serious burns and the eruption forced the evacuation of more than 10,000 people. The government moved about 2,970 houses out of the danger zone, including from Sumberwuluh village. Lumajang district chief Thoriqul Haq said villagers who are still haunted by last year's eruption fled on their own when they heard the mountain start to rumble early Sunday, so that “casualties could be avoided.” “They have learned an important lesson on how to avoid the danger of eruption,” he said while inspecting a damaged bridge in Kajar Kuning hamlet. He said nearly 2,000 people escaped to emergency shelters at several schools, but many were returned to their homes Monday to tend their livestock and protect their property. Increased volcanic activity Sunday afternoon prompted authorities to widen the danger zone to 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the crater, and scientists raised the volcano’s alert level to the highest, said Hendra Gunawan, who heads the Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center. People were advised to keep off the southeastern sector along the Besuk Kobokan River, which is in the path of the lava flow. Read more: Death toll from Indonesia earthquake reaches 310 as more bodies found Semeru, also known as Mahameru, has erupted numerous times in the past 200 years. Still, as is the case with many of the 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, tens of thousands of people continue to live on its fertile slopes. Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 270 million people, sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped series of fault lines, and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.
After weeks of sizzling heat and humid condition, much-awaited monsoon rains brought relief to people in the capital on Wednesday. The capital witnessed moderate showers from 11am which continued to drench the city for several hours. Met office recorded 12 mm of rainfall in the capital from 12 noon. Some office goers suffered while going to their work places in the morning.
Amid worsening flood situation in parts of Bangladesh, the meteorological department forecast more downpour in 24 hours commencing 9am on Monday due to active monsoon over Bangladesh. Also read: Flood: Waters start receding in hard hit north-east districts “Light to moderate rain or thunder showers accompanied by temporary gusty wind and lightning flashes is likely to occur at most places over Rangpur, Rajshahi, Dhaka, Mymensingh, Khulna, Barishal, Chattogram and Sylhet divisions with moderately heavy to very heavy falls at places over Rangpur, Mymensingh, Barishal, Chattogram and Sylhet divisins,” according to a regular Met Office bulletin. Day and night temperature may remain nearly unchanged over the country. At the same time, with a temporary gusty wind, its speed may increase from 30 to 40 kph. Meanwhile, the Met Office recorded the highest 242mm rainfall in Chattogram in 24 hours till 6am on Monday. Also read: Flooding to get worse as more rainfall headed for key region Due to heavy rainfall, landslides may occur at places over the hilly regions of Chattogram and Sylhet divisions, said the met office in their latest warning.
Bangladesh Metrological Department on Thursday predicted light or moderate rains or thundershowers in parts of the country in 24 hours commencing 9 am. According to the regular Met office bulletin, “Light to moderate rain or thunder showers accompanied by temporary gusty wind is likely to occur at most places over Rangpur, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Chattogram divisions; at many places over Rajshahi, Dhaka and Barishal divisions and at a few places over Khulna division with moderately heavy to very heavy falls at places over the country.” Day and night temperatures may remain nearly unchanged over the country. Read: Rangpur's highest rainfall in 100 years foists untold troubles on residents A trough of low extended from Bihar to Gangetic West Bengal persists. Monsoon is active over Bangladesh and moderate over North Bay.
As many as 25 people have been killed in house collapses triggered by heavy monsoon rains in India's financial capital Mumbai in the past 24 hours, officials said on Sunday. Mumbai received 177 mm rainfall between 8pm Saturday and 8am Sunday, according to the Indian Meteorological Department. "While 20 people lost their lives after getting trapped under the debris of their houses in the hilly Chembur area, a Mumbai suburb, five more died in the neighbouring Vikhroli area," a civic body official told the media. Also read: Indonesia landslides death toll rises to 126, dozens missing In Vikhroli, a two-storey building collapsed like a pack of cards unable to withstand the heavy overnight showers, the official added. So far, 15 people have been pulled out alive by rescuers from under the debris in these two areas. "These injured survivors have been admitted to nearby hospitals. The victims include women and kids," he said. Local TV channels beamed footage of live rescue operations in these areas. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted to offer his condolences and also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased. "Rs 50,000 would be given to those injured." Also read: Typhoon, landslides leave 35 dead, 59 missing in Vietnam A probe has been ordered into the building collapses, the civic body official added. Building collapses are common in India, particularly during the monsoon months of June, July and August. Poor construction quality is often blamed for such collapses.
The constricted drainage network in the district's Burichang upazila headquarters has proved to be inadequate yet again. Several roads in the upazila have gone under water due to the incessant showers over the past few days. At many places, road potholes have proliferated, causing immense sufferings to the commuters. Like every year, the rains have inundated the tall claims of the local authorities on monsoon preparedness. A reality check by UNB revealed the poor condition of roads in several parts of the upazila, particularly the Cumilla-Burichang-Brahmanpara-Mirpur stretch and the otherwise busy Sarakekhana. Read Also: Monsoons bring back the menace of waterlogging The monsoon fury did not even spare the Upazila Awami League office. Local residents attributed the waterlogging to the upazila's poor drainage system. "It's the same old story every year. Despite repeated requests, the authorities are yet to take a concrete step to overhaul the drainage network," said a resident. Also read: Waterlogging piles agony on Satkhira municipality residents According to residents, the potholed roads are responsible for a number of accidents in the area during the monsoon season. "It's high time that the authorities put an end to the sufferings of the public," said another local resident. Upazila officials could not be contacted.