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Study warns residents to keep safe distance KLATEN - A university's four case scenarios for restless Mt. Merapi predicts local residents would escape harm in the event of an eruption -- as long as they stay eight kilometers from the volcano's crater. Soetoto from the Natural Disaster Study Center of Yogyakarta's Gadjah Mada University said Wednesday previous eruptions of the Central Java volcano had not caused the expulsion of smalls stones or rocks over a great distance, only dust clouds.

He acknowledged there were many stones found around Sleman area in Yogyakarta, but they were pieces of hardened lava. Soetoto advised reluctant residents, many of whom believe in the mystical power of the area and are awaiting signs to vacate their homes, to leave if they were within the danger zone. "The residents should not wait for (mythical) 'signs' or anything. Mitigation is crucial to minimize the number of victims." He blamed the high number of victims in Merapi's previous eruptions on the lack of a map of vulnerable areas, monitoring facilities and a comprehensive mitigation system.

Scenarios

The 2,914 meter volcano, whose last major eruption in 1994 killed more than 50 people, has been put on alert status for two weeks, a level below the one requiring mandatory evacuation of the 30,000 residents living on its fertile slopes. The center's first scenario examined the effects if the volcano's southeast area collapsed from the force of surging boiling magma, with the estimated 10 million cubic meters of lava spewing from its dome endangering southern cities like Klaten and Yogyakarta.

It also might release dangerous heat clouds, reaching temperatures up to 800 degrees Celsius, which caused the fatalities 12 years ago. In the second scenario, a fissure would release gas and lava to southwest areas, such as during 2001 eruption which claimed no victims.

The third scenario would be the most dangerous one, with a major eruption caused by high pressure buildup within the volcano from the blockage of the crater by cold lava. "This scenario is very dangerous but there's no need to worry since Merapi has two magma reserves, each measuring 6 km and 1.5 km deep respectively...," Soetoto said.

In the last scenario, the pressure from the magma buildup would recede and an eruption would be averted. "This scenario is safe because there will be no eruption, but if it happens, it means Merapi is like a time bomb and its future eruption could be huge," he warned. Many residents still refused Wednesday to be evacuated to safer areas.

In the last two days, they have prepared rice cakes, which are mixed with salt and betel leaves, which they believe have the power to cast away disaster. Social Services Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah told residents, especially those living in dangerous areas, to evacuate forthwith. "The local administrations should be able to force their residents to evacuate," he said after opening a meeting for cash aid assistance distribution in Yogyakarta.

He also promised to check public and social facilities in the makeshift shelters, and urged local administrations to also set up enclosures for residents to keep their livestock. In Magelang, a 75-year-old man, Mertodikromo, died Wednesday morning in Tanjung shelter, which accommodates over 550 villagers, in Muntilan district, after complaining of feeling sick on Tuesday. The resident of Gawokpos hamlet in Sengi village, Dukun subdistrict, was evacuated from his home last Friday.

26 April 2006: From one of the tourist locations around Gunung Merapi, Deles Indah, you can have a nice view when the weather is clear. Between the clouds you can clearly see that Merapi is exhausting thick clouds of fumes. Deles Indah is located about 8 kilometers from the crater.
26 April 2006: From one of the tourist locations around Gunung Merapi, Deles Indah, you can have a nice view when the weather is clear. Between the clouds you can clearly see that Merapi is exhausting thick clouds of fumes. Deles Indah is located about 8 kilometers from the crater.



Link to related event Related event:
Eruptive Mount Merapi

Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes') Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes'):
26 April 2006 · Schools around rumbling Merapi send children home
26 April 2006 · Burmese migrants blown off course to Indonesia
25 April 2006 · Visitors keep their distance from Merapi
25 April 2006 · Kalla: No need for another fuel hike
24 April 2006 · Villagers stay on rumbling volcano's slopes
24 April 2006 · Indonesia hopes for Aceh elections in August
23 April 2006 · Doctor: Suharto unfit to stand trial
23 April 2006 · Gunung Merapi ready to erupt in days
22 April 2006 · Volcano center: Red code status just a matter of time


Posted in Volcanoes @ 27 April 2006 07:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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