Lumajang, East Java (ANTARA) - Residents must be cautious over false information regarding the Mount Semeru eruption and hot cloud avalanches that compelled residents to evacuate away from some affected regions in Lumajang District, East Java, on Sunday (December 4).

"I urge residents at refugee shelters to not heed to false information disseminated by irresponsible individuals," Lumajang District Head Thoriqul Haq stated here.

Refuting the circulating false narrative that residents' relocation areas are unsafe, the district head clarified that the relocation areas would be safe from the eruption and lahar flows.

"I assure you that relocation areas would be safe from lahar flows. The lahar is not flowing to Sumbermujur Village, but instead, will flow toward Supiturang, Curah Kobokan, Kamar Kajang, and Bondeli (regions)," he remarked.

Meanwhile, Lumajang District Deputy Head Indah Amperawati lent assurance to residents that the Bumi Semeru Damai area in Candipuro Sub-district, designated as a relocation area for refugees, is safe and not located within the red zone.

"If another hot cloud spews from Mount Semeru, the Bumi Semeru Damai relocation area where residents were evacuated to will be affected only by its volcanic ash," she remarked.

The district deputy head added that some residents, whose houses were located at Bumi Semeru Damai, have returned to their homes as conditions were gradually improving.

"Residents need not be afraid if their homes are located within the relocation area because the government has considered the location properly. Do not panic, (as) the condition is now safe. Some residents living in the relocation area have also returned to their homes," Amperawati said.

According to the sub-district data, some two thousand residents have been evacuated to 21 designated evacuation points at village halls, mosques, and schools in some villages.

Earlier, the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency (PVMBG) reported that Mount Semeru had erupted on Sunday at 2:46 a.m. local time (UTC +7).

The volcano emitted a hot cloud, with an eruption column height reaching 1,500 meters above the peak during the eruption. The volcano status was updated, from Level 3, or Alert, to Level 4, or Caution, -- the highest level -- at noon on the same day.

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Translator: Zumrotun Solichah, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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