Death toll in Indonesian volcano eruption rises to 43

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The death toll in the eruption of Mount Semeru in Indonesia’s Java island has increased to 43, with 104 people injured, the National Disaster Management Agency said.

Thursday’s evacuation process was stopped, as the search and rescue location was covered by dark and overcast clouds, to avoid flooding of volcanic ash, according to agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari.

“Based on a visual report, thick smoke was also sliding from the peak of Semeru up to 1,000 metres to the west to southwest direction this morning,” Xinhua news agency quoted Muhari as saying.

More than 6,000 people remain in 121 evacuation points as their homes were swept away by volcanic ash or their settlements are located in the danger zone.

The eruption killed thousands of livestock, while dozens of public facilities, including a bridge connecting districts, were damaged.

Authorities are reviewing the construction of a temporary emergency bridge to connect the districts of Lumajang and Malang.

The 3,676-metre-high volcano erupted on December 5.

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