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River of lava ready to hit villages near Merapi YOGYAKARTA - A local volcanologist reiterated Tuesday that huge amounts of molten lava were poised to be expelled from restless Mt. Merapi and blanket communities lying in their path. "The materials will shoot downward to Gendol, Boyong and Woro rivers (in the direction of Klaten, Central Java), reaching from seven to eight kilometers from the crater," said Subandriyo, the head of volcanology of the Yogyakarta Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology.

Subandriyo could not predict when the river of lava -- estimated at 2.4 million cubic meters and being pushed up by an unusually high amount of magma -- would erupt from the crater. Residents have been reluctant to leave their homes, especially due to concerns about losing livestock. Husbandry officials began putting animal identification tags on local animals Tuesday to ensure they could be reclaimed by their owners in the event of an eruption.

The other threat was from toxic hot clouds, Subandriyo said, "if the clouds can reach a radius of 12 kilometers (from the crater)". Latest analysis shows the volcano's explosion would be directed horizontally, followed by the emission of hot clouds." On the effectiveness of the early warning system to evacuate locals, Subandriyo said his agency provided the most up-to-date data to the team in the field. "Any signs of danger are reported to the team, which is then in charge of conveying the information to the residents."

He said the amount of magma recorded was the most since he started work at the site in 1992, and he believed the eruption would be much greater than others in recent years. Meanwhile, the process of evacuation went on Tuesday, with police officers assisted by soldiers helping hundreds of residents leave their houses.

At Pangkurejo, about five kilometers from the volcano's crater, 87 senior citizens, pregnant women and under-fives were moved to a nearby village hall. The children were distressed by the lack of drinking water and food, with their parents confused about locations to buy rice and snacks. "Dear all, please be patient... the food provisions have not been received yet," one of the officials in charge of handling evacuees told them.

In Sawangan, Magelang regency, 33 students of Muhammadiyah junior high school have taken refuge at the school to enable them to concentrate on their studies amid the uncertainty about Mt. Merapi. Principal Sukanto said they resided there since Saturday evening. "Many students come from villages vulnerable to the Merapi disaster. That's why we decided to ask them to stay at school," he said. The villages include Tlogolele and Tlogomulyo in Boyolali and Sengi, and others in Magelang.

"We have sent letters to their parents informing them that the students were staying at the school, and they all agreed to it, he said. Representatives of ProFauna and the Indonesian Society for Animal Welfare have begun tagging residents's cattle for identification purposes. "Each animal is tagged with the address of its owner. This is aimed at enabling the residents to identify their cattle," said Luki Kusuma Wardhani, one of the livestock officers.

"In an emergency situation the cattle could not be taken away...they are allowed to roam freely. Because of the tag, there is no need for the owners to search for their cattle once the situation is back to normal ..."


Link to related event Related event:
Eruptive Mount Merapi

Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes') Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes'):
02 May 2006 · Volcano grows 10 metres in three days
02 May 2006 · China firms in US$7 billion deal with Indonesia
27 April 2006 · Villagers asked to leave as volcanic debris begins pouring
27 April 2006 · Expert: Merapi volcano in no rush to erupt
27 April 2006 · Study warns residents to keep safe distance
26 April 2006 · Schools around rumbling Merapi send children home
26 April 2006 · Burmese migrants blown off course to Indonesia
25 April 2006 · Kalla: No need for another fuel hike


Posted in Volcanoes @ 03 May 2006 08:24 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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