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5,000 evacuated, first lava oozes from Mount Merapi YOGYAKARTA - More than 5,000 Indonesians have fled their homes around simmering Mount Merapi, officials said Thursday, as the first lava flow oozed from the volcano. Lava spilled at 2:00 am local time from a new lava dome that has grown on top of Mount Merapi, which has been on stand-by alert for three weeks, said Muzani from Yogyakarta's vulcanology office. "The lava flowed for about 200 metres (yards)," he told AFP.

For the first time, a fixed burning spot was also seen from the village of Ndeles, one of the villages highest on the fertile slops of the volcano, from 4:00 am, he said. Lava outflows and the emergence of fixed burning spots are among signs of imminent eruption, geologists have said. But Muzani said the status of the volcano remained unchanged for now, at one stage below that which would require mandatory evacuation of those living around it.

Meanwhile, more than 5,000 villagers from around Merapi have left their homes, but preparations are being made to accommodate thousands more, officials said. Marsono, head of the disaster control office at the Central Java capital of Semarang, said that a total of 37,000 evacuees were expected from the three Central Java districts around Merapi, with only 3,566 already relocating. "They are all elderly people, especially women, and children. The men prefer to tend to their fields and livestock until the last minute," Marsono said.

An official from Sleman -- the fourth district on the slopes of Merapi, which is part of Yogyakarta province -- painted a similar picture. "We are readying ourselves to evacuate a total of around 4,500 people," said Widi Sutikno, head of Sleman's disaster control office. "But so far, we only have about 1,600 people who have agreed to leave their homes," he said.

Local residents place strong trust in the customary guardian of the volcano, an elderly man named Marijan, officially appointed by the royal house of Yogyakarta, some 30 kilometres (around 20 miles) south of the volcano. He has said that there are no signs yet of an immediate eruption. A new lava dome has been forming at the peak of Merapi over the past week, signalling that the eruption will involve an outflow of lava and deadly heat clouds rather than a massive explosion, scientists have said.


Link to related event Related event:
Eruptive Mount Merapi

Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes') Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes'):
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03 May 2006 · River of lava ready to hit villages near Merapi
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 · Burmese migrants blown off course to Indonesia


Posted in Volcanoes @ 04 May 2006 06:54 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





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