In the aftermath of the volcanic eruption on Indonesia’s Mount Marapi over the weekend, rescuers discovered two additional bodies today (05), bringing the total casualties to 13. The search for 10 missing hikers resumed after a brief pause due to safety concerns, as the volcano continued to erupt, spewing a 3km ash cloud into the air on Sunday.
As hundreds of rescuers navigated slippery terrain in search of the missing individuals, the urgency to locate them heightened. The rescue efforts faced challenges as Marapi remained active, with windows of relative calm being strategically utilized to conduct the search, according to Syahlul Munal, a member of the rescue team.
“We are racing against time,” Munal emphasized.
The two bodies recovered on Tuesday were found in separate locations, underscoring the difficulty faced by the rescue teams. Marapi, known as the “Mountain of Fire,” ranks among Indonesia’s most active volcanoes and attracts hikers, despite its history of eruptions. Trails had only recently reopened in June after ash eruptions earlier in the year.
Ahmad Rifandi, an official at Marapi’s monitoring station, reported five eruptions observed from midnight until 08:00 local time today (05), highlighting the continued activity of the volcano.
The eruption on Sunday (03) affected 75 hikers in the area, with most evacuated and receiving treatment for burns. Rescuers, in the face of ongoing volcanic activity, worked tirelessly to transport the deceased and injured down the challenging terrain.
One survivor, Zhafirah Zahrim Febrina, sent a video message to her mother pleading for help. The 19-year-old student, nicknamed Ife, displayed shock and burns, conveying the severity of the situation. The psychological impact on survivors, including the trauma experienced by Ife, adds another layer to the ongoing crisis.
Sumatra’s Marapi volcano, standing at 2,891m, poses significant dangers, especially in light of its history of eruptions. The Indonesian archipelago, situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, remains prone to high volcanic and seismic activity.