JAKARTA (Xinhua): The death toll of Semeru volcano eruption in Indonesia's East Java province rose to 22 on Monday (Dec 6) with more than 30 people missing, while search for the victims was under way amid a potential of lava floods and hot clouds.
The rescuer team found several bodies buried in mud in Lumajang district on Monday, and the number of missing people may rise as there were sand mining activities on rivers during the eruption, said Daniel Riza, an official at the data and information centre of the district's disaster management and mitigation agency.
"The reports coming to us showed that 22 died, and 30 people lost contacts, and the number could be more than that as there were some mining activities on the rivers just before the eruption," he told Xinhua news agency.
The eruption has forced 1,700 people to flee homes and take shelters at evacuation centres as hundreds of houses, a bridge and other infrastructure facilities were destroyed, the official said.
Head of the Geological Agency at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, Eko Budi Lelono, said there was still a potential for hot clouds to spread from the crater of the volcano, so that the red zone where the clouds may pass through must be emptied.
"The potential for the hot clouds to spread still exists," he told a virtual press conference.