"Until now, the death toll has reached 34, while 16 are still untraceable," Head of Operations and Alert of the Surabaya Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) I Wayan Suyatna stated at the Sumberwuluh Field Post, Candipuro Sub-district, in Lumajang District, East Java.
Suyatna confirmed that four evacuation teams were conducting search operations for victims affected by hot clouds at several points: Curah Kobokan, Kampung Renteng, and sand mining sites.
"The bodies were mostly found at the two locations of Curah Kobokan at Supiturang Village and Kampung Renteng at Sumberwuluh Village," he explained.
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According to Suyatna, more bodies were found buried in the debris material of volcanic ash and burning cloud, while some were found in the ruins of houses.
"So far, the weather is quite sunny to evacuate the victims of Mount Semeru's hot clouds," Suyatna remarked.
He pointed out that factors, such as strong winds, heavy rain, and Semeru's volcanic materials, had hindered the search and rescue operations.
Furthermore, the fact that Mount Semeru can still spew hot clouds again is a factor to be taken into account for the operations team while evacuating victims.
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"We prioritize the safety of the evacuation team first. If the weather is bad, the team will find a safe place before continuing the search and rescue for victims," he added.
The bodies found were transported to the Dr Haryoto Hospital and Bhayangkara Hospital in Lumajang District for further handling.
Based on Surabaya Basarnas' data, 26 people suffered severe injuries while 82 incurred minor injuries and have undergone treatment at local health centers.
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