JAKARTA: The deaths reported from the eruption of Indonesia's Mount Semeru volcano rose to 34 on Tuesday, the national disaster agency said.
The biggest mountain on the island of Java ejected volcanic ash high into the sky and rained hot mud on Saturday. The panicked residents of the island fled their homes post the eruption.
The disaster left the streets entirely filled with mud and ash, swallowing homes and vehicles.
"The latest update from the ground... (is) 34 people died, 17 are missing," the disaster agency spokesman Abdul Muhari told AFP.
Almost 3,700 have been evacuated from the affected area and rescuers are battling dangerous conditions searching for survivors and bodies in the volcanic debris, wrecked buildings and destroyed vehicles. Search crews deployed dogs to aid the operation.
Moreover, Mount Semeru has remained active since Saturday, with small eruptions keeping emergency workers and area residents on edge.
In addition, there were three small eruptions on Tuesday, each spewing ash around 3,300 ft into the sky, authorities said.
Officials have advised locals not to travel within five kilometres of Semeru's crater stating dangerous levels of pollution of the air.