Indonesia: Marapi volcano death toll rises to 22

Marapi volcano

The death toll from the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Marapi volcano has risen to 22 after rescue teams discovered 11 more bodies, officials said Tuesday.

“We don’t expect to find any more survivors,” said Abdul Malik, the head of the local rescue service.

More than 50 people were rescued from the mountain on Sunday, while 11 others were initially confirmed dead.

“The safety of our team has to be our priority. It’s been raining incessantly since yesterday evening, making paths slippery and hindering the evacuation team,” Malik said.

Rescuers had been focusing on a particularly popular rocky area where many climbers are thought to have camped.

Two bodies were found on Monday, and nine more were discovered on Tuesday. One person is still unaccounted for.

What do we know about Mount Marapi?
Mount Marapi on the island of Sumatra — not to be confused with the similarly named volcano Mount Merapi on the island of Java — is 2,891 meters (9,484 feet) high and one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia.

Experts had detected signs of increased volcanic activity over the past several months. Marapi erupted on Sunday, spewing an ash tower 3,000 meters high and raining volcanic debris onto nearby villages. Many of the dead showed signs of severe burns.

“Some suffered from burns because it was very hot, and they have been taken to the hospital. Those who are injured were the ones who got closer to the crater,” Rudy Rinaldi, head of the West Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency told AFP news agency.

Authorities set up a three-kilometre evacuation zone around the crater and ordered residents to wear face masks, hats and glasses to protect themselves from volcanic ash and other debris.

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Dozens of smaller eruptions have been detected since the main eruption.

Indonesia lies in the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity. It has nearly 130 active volcanoes.

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