At least seven people have been killed in an eruption at Indonesia’s Mt. Sinabung volcano, with several injuries reported.
The volcano, located in northern Sumatra and one of Indonesia’s most active, erupted earlier this weekend, sending a cloud of gas and hot ash down the mountainside, engulfing at least one village and incinerating several homes, according to ABC.
Now the hunt is on for survivors, with soldiers and volunteers combing the region, and still pulling people from the wreckage as late as Sunday night.
“The villagers who managed to survive were running around in panic, trying to save themselves,” Agustatius Sitepu, the military head in the local district, told ABC. “There were only a few dozen. They were terrified and covered in ash.”
Sitepu said villages as far as 12 km away from the volcano received a coating of ash.
Pictures posted to Instagram by a photojournalist showed considerable damage to some homes, as well as varying degrees of ash coating the debris and lingering in the air, while soldiers searched for survivors.
Many of the villagers were farming in the four-kilometre “red zone” established around the volcano by Indonesian authorities in 2014, following an earlier eruption at Sinabung which killed 16 people.
Though warned by the government, many of those who evacuated in 2014 returned to resume farming in the hopes of making a living, rather than continue to live in evacuation shelters, according to Sky News.
After a major eruption in the 1600s, Sinabung was silent for centuries before rumbling back to life in 2010. It has since erupted several times.