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Two trapped after Mount Merapi volcano erupts KALIURANG - Rescuers dug through volcanic debris Thursday to reach two people trapped when Indonesia‘s most volatile volcano erupted, nearly enveloping a village with a searing gas cloud and forcing thousands of residents to flee. "The situation is ... life-threatening," said Yousana Siagian, head of the government‘s Vulcanology and Disaster Mitigation Center, after the alert level for Mount Merapi was raised to its highest status again and it dumped thick ash on scores of houses.

The rescuers had been in touch with the two by cell phone. The bunkers, several of which dot the slopes of Merapi, are typically equipped with water and food. The alert level was dropped a notch on Tuesday, sparking widespread relief for people who have spent weeks in evacuation camps and were trucked home. But that quickly turned to concern Wednesday as Merapi demonstrated its famed unpredictability.

Up to 20,000 people live in the danger zone, taking advantage of the rich volcanic soil. By nightfall, at least 1,100 were back in camps and some 12,000 others were given orders to leave. Ash covered one village 4 1/2 miles west of the crater with a gray blanket an inch thick, and soot rained down after dusk across many districts, officials said. "The villagers are confused. They said it was safe, but hot clouds re-emerged. One thing is for sure — we have readied ourselves to evacuate anytime," said Budiono, the chief of Ngargosoko, a village six miles from the peak that was ordered evacuated.

"A heavy rain of ash and sand poured down on villagers," said Sugiono, an official from a monitoring post. He said it was very dark in the village, which was covered with smoke and ash. "People instinctively came to the shelters." The main dangers at Merapi are fast-moving bursts of blistering gases and rock fragments called pyroclastic flow. Experts say a massive vertical eruption threatening people many miles away will not occur.


Link to related event Related event:
Eruptive Mount Merapi

Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes') Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes'):
14 June 2006 · Mount Merapi volcano back on highest alert level
13 June 2006 · Indonesia lowers alert level at Merapi volcano
11 June 2006 · Smouldering Mount Merapi slows tourism
10 June 2006 · Merapi activity slows down, but still dangerous
08 June 2006 · Merapi spews lava and gas in large eruption


Posted in Volcanoes @ 15 June 2006 08:46 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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