Authorities evacuate dozens of people from area where volcano erupts, kills 14

Authorities are warning people in an area that borders Mount Semeru volcano on Indonesia’s Lombok island to evacuate after an eruption on Wednesday night.

The area surrounding the volcano is home to roughly 100,000 people and could be in danger even after a period of calm, officials said Thursday.

Officials at the National Disaster Mitigation Agency confirmed that at least 14 people were killed in the explosion.

Two rivers crisscrossing the area had flooded, hampering efforts to reach people forced from their homes. In addition, the danger zone around the volcano now extends 10 kilometers into a lake.

The evacuation could take weeks to complete.

“For now, the radius zone around the volcano will be expanded until January 14, and we will explain the risks around the village and ask the communities to evacuate the area,” Kela Kerta Karunwansyah, Lombok police chief, told CNN Indonesia.

Video posted to social media showed a hot cloud of ash and smoke rising from the summit of the volcano after an initial explosion. Authorities have told thousands of people in the area to evacuate.

The eruption, which followed three other eruptions earlier this week, is only the latest in a string of deadly volcanoes to impact the area this year.

In November, at least 430 people were killed and 70 missing after an earthquake hit Indonesia’s Lombok island, triggering a 6.9-magnitude quake that struck shallow beneath the earth’s surface. The quake damaged and destroyed nearly 1,000 homes and forced tens of thousands of residents from their homes.

This isn’t the first time Indonesia has been hit by an eruption of Mount Semeru, a popular tourist destination.

In May 2015, 16 people were killed when Mount Semeru erupted, sending hot volcanic ash and lava down the mountain and across the island of Lombok.

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