Indonesia volcano: Toll rises after Mount Semeru buries villages

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Watch BBC reporter describe some of the damage as she's surrounded by houses buried in ash

At least 34 people were killed in a volcanic eruption in Indonesia on Sunday, the country's national disaster agency says.

Mount Semeru engulfed villages in volcanic ash and hot mud on the island of Java, forcing thousands to flee.

Seventeen people are still missing.

Emergency teams and rescue dogs are looking for survivors and bodies in the debris. The operation has been complicated by dangerous conditions and bad weather in the area.

The volcano remains active, with smaller eruptions continuing since the weekend.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited the area on Tuesday and said some 2,000 families could be moved because of the ongoing threat.

"We hope that after everything has subsided, that everything can start: fixing infrastructure or even relocating those from the places we predict are too dangerous to return to," he said.

Mt Semeru rises 3,676m (12,000ft) above sea level and is among Indonesia's almost 130 active volcanoes. The last time it erupted was in December 2020 and thousands of residents were forced to take shelter.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area where continental plates meet, causing frequent volcanic and seismic activity.

Image source, Reuters
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Mount Semeru continues to spew volcanic ash and smoke
Image source, EPA
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Some villages have been buried in ash after the eruption
Image source, Reuters
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Vehicles and houses have been completely submerged by debris
Image source, Reuters
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Activity continues at the volcano
Image source, Reuters
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Rescue workers have been searching an area covered in mud and ash left behind by the eruption

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Watch as this survivor describes how he escaped the deadly Mt Semeru eruption in Indonesia

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