- Title: INDONESIA: More lava trickles out of Indonesian volcano on high alert
- Date: 14th May 2006
- Summary: WIDE MERAPI VOLCANO AT MORNING TIME; HOT CLOUDS AND SMOKE BILLOWING FROM CRATER; CLOSEUP OF CRATER; VOLCANIC ASH RIPPLING DOWN CRATER; VULCANOLOGIST MONITORING THROUGH BINOCULARS (6 SHOTS)
- Embargoed: 29th May 2006 13:00
- Location: Indonesia
- Country: Indonesia
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Nature / Environment
- Reuters ID: LVACE66WUZBPGPM6PJFWPUO52X89
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: More lava flowed on Sunday (May 14, 2006) from Indonesia's rumbling Mount Merapi, which experts say could erupt at any time, threatening thousands of people in the country's central Java heartland.
Authorities have ordered thousands to evacuate after raising the alert status of Gunung Merapi -- or Fiery Mountain -- to the highest level, also known as code red or 'danger' status, on Saturday (May 13).
Thick clouds of charcoal grey smoke billowed periodically from the crater on Sunday, but unlike on Saturday there were few visible signs of hot lava overnight flowing from Merapi, one of the most menacing volcanoes in the Pacific "Ring of Fire".
Merapi has been rumbling for weeks and glistening orange lava has flowed occasionally from its crater in recent days.
Experts say the top alert means that technically the mountain could erupt within 24 hours.
Government officials, along with army and police, evacuated more 20,000 people living near the volcano to tents and shelters in safe areas following the new alert level on Saturday.
"In Sleman region, according to data collected on the field there are 4,056 people from one district and about 18,000 from another district, bringing the total of about 22,500 people who have been evacuated. We are closely monitoring certain areas to the east of Merapi -- Kali Tengah Lor and Kali Tengah Kidul, to the west -- Kaliadem, Telemsari and Kinahrejo, and further west Kaliurang, Turgo Ngandong and Tunggul Arung," said Widi Sutikno, head of the Disaster Management Unit in Sleman region, referring to areas most likely to be affected by Merapi's imminent eruption.
Merapi lies near the ancient city of Yogyakarta at the centre of densely populated Java island. It killed 70 people in a 1994 eruption and 1,300 in 1930.
Indonesia has the world's highest density of volcanoes.
Some family members from villages whose residents had been evacuated, however, stayed behind or returned daily for a few hours in the morning to do their daily chores.
"Our animals are abandoned back in our village. My husband is the head of our village's milk cooperative so he had to return home," said Marsiyam whose husband return home for about four hours even though the whole family now slept at a local school building, which had been converted into a temporary shelter.
"Most important is for us to be able to return home every morning to milk our cows and send the milk to the co-op, then find and cut grass to feed them and to keep up their pens. That's all we ask," said Asmo, an elderly man whose daughter joined the rest of the village working men and women home in the morning.
Many villagers consider the Merapi volcano sacred. Every year, a traditional Javanese priest climbs to the top to make an offering.
Most Javanese, who make up the bulk of Indonesia's 220 million people, are Muslim, but many cling to a spiritual past and believe a supernatural kingdom exists on top of Merapi.
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