Cangkringan village in the district of Sleman. --PHOTO: REUTERS
to flee volcano
YOGYAKARTA (Indonesia) - INDONESIA warned residents living in the shadow of the nation's most active volcano to evacuate on Tuesday or risk being killed by a major eruption.
Authorities put an area 10km around the crater of Mount Merapi on red alert on Monday, ordering 19,000 people to flee with the possibility of the mountain blowing its top looking increasingly likely.
But many defiantly ignored the order, remaining on their farms, as several minor eruptions sent lava spewing down Merapi's southern slopes. 'Mount Merapi is still on red alert,' government volcanologist Surono warned.
'People who live on certain areas around the mountain should evacuate as soon as possible,' he said. Field coordinator Widi Sutikno, of the Sleman district on the southern slopes of the 2,914m mountain, said about 3,700 people had sought shelter in makeshift camps.
'We have evacuated many women, pregnant women, sick people, elderly people and children,' Mr Sutikno said. 'We let some people return to their fields for their daily activity. But they need to go back to the camps and not their houses,' he said.
Mr Sukamto, 50, a farmer, said his family had been evacuated but he still needed to tend his cows. 'It's still fine for me to work, as I can see when the volcano will erupt from here. I work at around eight kilometres from the top of Merapi and I think it's still safe,' Mr Sukamto said. 'However, I still have to be really careful here,' he said. -- AFP
and has produced more lava flows than any other volcano in the world.
The Indonesian Center for Volcanology has issued a third-degree warning on the possible eruption of the Merapi volcano in densely populated central Java, local media reported on Friday.
Merapi is one of the most active and dangerous volcanoes in Indonesia and has produced more lava flows than any other volcano in the world. It has been active for 10,000 years and has registered eruptions on average every four years.
"The status of Merapi was raised on September 21 from the second degree 'warning' to the third degree 'expectation,' and all activities in the threatened area around the volcano will be banned for safety reasons," said Surono, the head of the Center for Volcanology.
The official said the volcano's activity had been rapidly increasing, accompanied by tremors and frequent lava spills.
Most eruptions of Merapi involve a collapse of the lava dome creating lava flows which travel around 4 miles from the summit.
"According to our calculations, the new eruption could produce lava flows that travel up to 15 miles," Surono said.
Merapi is located about 20 miles north of the city of Yogyakarta, and thousands of people live on the flanks of the volcano, with villages as high as 1,700 meters above sea level.
In 1997 and in 2006, thousands of Merapi villagers were evacuated when the volcano began spewing ash and lava.
The worst eruption in 1930 killed around 1,300 people.
JAKARTA, October 22 (RIA Novosti)
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