JAKARTA, Indonesia: Rescue personnel in Indonesia are facing the arduous task of looking for survivors in villages blanketed by searing ash following the eruption of Mount Semeru on the island of Java on December 4.
Emergency staff pegged the death count in the eruption to have reached 14, while several dozen individuals reportedly suffered from injuries, including burns.
A person volunteering in Lumajang District, located in proximity to the eruption site, spoke of personnel from the military and police toiling away to retrieve bodies, in the absence of any equipment.
The volcanic ash reached roofline levels of residences, while vehicles seemingly disappeared under a blanket of ash.
In conversation with Reuters, Taufiq Ismail Marzuqi, who filmed the painstaking excavation for bodies, spoke of the rescue endeavors being "very dire."
Volcanic ash swamped no fewer than eleven villages in East Java's Lumajang, with at least 56 people having suffered injuries, including burns.
"Some 10 people were swept away by the mud flow," according to Kampung Renteng resident Salim, as reported by the BBC.
A man searching for survivors said that ten village residents were missing, while a resident recalled the eruption.
"Locals here thought it was just usual floods. We did not know it was hot mud. All of sudden, the sky turned dark as rains and hot smoke came. Thankfully, it was raining so we could breathe," according to the AFP.
Meanwhile, an Indonesian disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) representative confirmed that treatment was being administered to those who suffered injuries at several medical institutions and hospitals.
Evacuations of some 1,300 individuals were confirmed by the BNPB, while ten sand mining staff trapped in nearby buildings were rescued.