Alert Issued over Bromo Volcano

JAKARTA

The authorities have issued a “red alert” for an eruption at Mount Bromo volcano in East Java, less than a month after Mount Merapi volcano killed more than 300 people.

“We raised the status of Bromo to the highest red alert level at 3.30pm today. There’s a chance of an eruption soon,” government volcanologist Surono said on Tuesday.

Bromo started rumbling on November 8 and plumes of white smoke and ash were rising from the crater of the 2,329 metre peak on Tuesday, according to a government website.

Anyone within three kilometres of the volcano – which lies about 120 kilometres south of Surabaya – were urged to move to safer ground.

Unlike Merapi, however, the countryside around Bromo is not densely populated as it lies within the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park.
The volcano last erupted in 2004, killing two people.

It is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes and is a popular spot for tourists and day trippers. It is the youngest cone in the vast Tengger caldera, a “volcanic complex” that dates back about 820,000 years.

Officials earlier raised the death toll from Mount Merapi, in central Java, to 322 people since it began erupting on October 26.

“Rescuers found many bodies in the incinerated area of Cangkringan,” disaster management official Agam Ferdatama said, updating the previous toll of 309 dead.

More than 130,000 people are living in emergency shelters, well down on the 320,000 at the height of the disaster, although the volcano’s threat level remains on the maximum “red alert.”

Merapi killed around 1,300 people in 1930 but experts say its latest eruptions were its biggest since 1872.

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