On Sunday, January 14th, Indonesia’s Mount Marapi erupted again, leading to the evacuation of at least 100 residents from nearby villages. This eruption, the second in just over a month, spewed smoke and ash high into the air, blanketing roads and vehicles in volcanic material.
The Marapi Volcano Observation Post in West Sumatra province recorded an eruption with an ash column about 4,265 feet high from its peak, followed by ash rain. The eruption began at 6 a.m. local time, with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources warning residents and visitors not to go within a 4.5-kilometer radius of the Verbeek Crater, where the eruption took place.
Residents in the affected areas, including the villages of Rubai and Gobah Cumantiang, located about 3.1 to 3.7 miles from the peak of Mount Marapi, have been advised to wear masks to protect against falling ash. Some residents also sought respiratory check-ups at health facilities due to the ash.
Mount Marapi, standing at 9,500 feet high, is among the most active volcanoes in Indonesia. It lies on the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” an area with a high concentration of volcanoes and fault lines. The volcano has erupted 11 times in the early 21st century, with its deadliest single event killing 60 people in 1979.
The previous eruption on December 3, 2023, claimed the lives of 23 hikers who were on the mountain at the time and saw volcanic ash being spewed as high as 9,843 feet into the air. The sudden nature of these eruptions, often without significant seismic activity beforehand, makes Mount Marapi particularly dangerous for residents and climbers.
The Indonesian authorities have raised the alert level of the volcano from Level 2 to Level 3, or the second-highest level, prompting the recent evacuations. The ongoing volcanic activity at Mount Marapi has put the region on high alert, with disaster management teams closely monitoring the situation.
As Indonesia continues to grapple with the challenges posed by its active volcanoes, the repeated eruptions of Mount Marapi serve as a reminder of the constant threat faced by communities living in close proximity to these natural hazards. The government’s efforts to ensure the safety of its citizens and minimize the impact of such events remain a top priority in the disaster-prone nation.