Locals fled on motorbikes generally three at a time as a mushroom cloud of ash approached and monsoon rains lashed the world in East Java.
“It was darkish and raining. The rain didn’t consist solely of water, but additionally volcanic ash. It was like mud,” mentioned an AFP journalist on the scene.
Indonesian authorities raised their alert degree for the volcano to its highest after the crater spewed sizzling ash a mile into the sky.
It got here solely a 12 months after the volcano final erupted, killing a minimum of 51 folks and laying waste to properties.
Rescue employees have been as soon as once more speeding to evacuate villagers within the space Sunday as a colossal plume of ash engulfed all mild.
One emergency responder, Gunawan, filmed the clouds above as a noon sky turned ominously darkish as if midnight.
“It is getting darkish, bro,” he mentioned to the digicam as a seismograph whistled within the background.
The web was down and cellphone indicators have been patchy however villagers have been alerted to the hazard by sirens and the beating of bamboo drums by native volunteers.
Semeru is the best mountain on Indonesia’s essential island of Java and lies round 800 kilometres (500 miles) southeast of the capital Jakarta amongst a cluster of craters in a moon-like panorama.
The Southeast Asian archipelago nation has practically 130 energetic volcanoes.
The eruption final 12 months left locals combing via ruined belongings after their properties have been blanketed in ash.
It stays to be seen what harm the eruption will inflict this time with the lava nonetheless edging in the direction of properties and their house owners informed to stay eight kilometres (5 miles) from the crater.
Many villagers, principally girls and youngsters, took shelter in native halls and faculties, some so far as 20 kilometres (12 miles) away.
Gunawan, who like many Indonesians goes by just one identify, mentioned everybody was secure for now, even when their possessions and houses won’t be by day’s finish.
As he flashed a peace signal at a digicam towards the backdrop of darkish haze and monsoon rains at his rescue publish, he tried to reassure folks.
“Salam tangguh, salam presisi!” he mentioned, which means “cheers”, his voice relaxed however muffled behind a gasoline masks.