Tragedy Strikes as Mount Marapi Eruption Leaves 12 Hikers Missing: Families Await News

Rescuers carry away a victim after the eruption of Mount Marapi in Agam, West Sumatra. Picture: AFP

Families of 12 hikers anxiously await news as search operations resume following the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Marapi. The 2,891-meter-high volcano erupted on Sunday, claiming at least 11 lives. Despite three survivors being found and 49 climbers successfully evacuating, the rescue efforts face challenges due to poor visibility, prompting a temporary halt over safety concerns.

The victims, all local climbers, were discovered near Marapi’s crater. Evacuation efforts have proven arduous, taking 4-6 hours to retrieve each body. Heavy rain and limited visibility further slowed the 120 rescuers involved in the operation.

Desperation and hope mingle at the base of the mountain, where families have vowed to stay until they receive updates. Dasman, father of missing hiker Zakir Habibi, expresses his resolve, saying, “I will stay here until I hear some news.”

In a live stream on TikTok, relief washed over the family of Zhafirah Zahrim Febrina, one of the survivors. The 19-year-old, visibly shaken and with burns, is now in a nearby hospital after being rescued from the mountain. Her mother, Rani Radelani, expressed gratitude, saying, “It felt incredible, praise God she has been found.”

Amidst the uncertainty, the brother of missing climber Yasirli Amri shares a distressing account. Amri had sent a video, indicating he was trapped and unable to walk. Concerns grow as communication abruptly cuts off.

Mount Marapi, one of Sumatra’s most active volcanoes, has been active since January. This recent eruption saw ash reaching 3,000 meters into the sky. Authorities had previously raised the alert level and restricted residents from approaching within 3 km of the crater. Indonesia, situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, experiences frequent volcanic and seismic activity, boasting nearly 130 active volcanoes across the archipelago.

As the search for the missing hikers continues, the nation holds its breath, hoping for the safe return of those still unaccounted for amidst the tumultuous aftermath of Mount Marapi’s eruption.