- Title: INDONESIA: Indonesian volcano continues to spew hot gas
- Date: 18th May 2006
- Summary: VARIOUS OF EMPLOYEE CUTTING GRASS TO FEED GOATS (4 SHOTS)
- Embargoed: 2nd June 2006 13:00
- Location: Indonesia
- Country: Indonesia
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVAQ5MGB48R2B8F83K9NHCNS2DZ
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Ignoring warnings of a major eruption, some Indonesian villagers were back in their homes collecting grass for feeding and milking goats along the slopes of Indonesia's simmering Mount Merapi volcano on Thursday (May 18).
A fresh large burst of hot gas clouds and some ash that shot into the air from the mountain late on Wednesday (May 17) had not prevented residents from leaving shelters and returning to spend the night in their homes.
The hot gas clouds, which local residents call "shaggy goats" were still coming out of the Merapi crater. The crater lies six kilometres (four miles) from the village, but they were smaller than earlier in the week.
Thursday's (May 18) clouds were 1.5 miles in length and not as big as before, said Triyani, an official at the Centre for Volcanological Research and Technology Development in Yogyakarta, the ancient royal capital near the mountain many residents regard as mystical.
Clouds from late Wednesday's (May 17) burst had reached a length of three kilometres and caused ash rains west and south of Merapi, one of the most menacing volcanoes in the "Pacific Ring of Fire".
The hot clouds had stretched four kilometres down the volcano's sides on Monday (May 15), when Merapi had shown the most activity since a red alert was declared two days earlier.
They had reached six kilometres down the volcano in 1994, when the last major eruption occurred.
During that eruption, most than 70 people died. The volcano killed 1,300 people in 1930.
Vulcanologists say the major lava dome that has built up in the current eruption phase has yet to collapse-- the event vulcanologists fear could trigger a major deadly eruption.
Most residents and farmers have suffered major losses in production since they were re-located to shelters, leaving their homes and farms unattended.
Others have benefited from the rumbling volcano.
Tamto, owner of a goat farm said, "I don't think we can talk about losses. Our profits have increased because there are many visitors, especially those don't even know about goat milk."
Village head Mukidad said if the mountain erupted, the residents are ready.
Vulcanologists warn activity is likely to rise and fall ahead of a major eruption, and the government officially mandated evacuation on Saturday (May 13), but is reluctant to force people out.
Many villagers consider Merapi sacred and continue to live on the slopes despite the government order.
Every year, a traditional Javanese priest climbs to the top to make an offering.
Residents say they have yet to see what they consider the traditional signs of an impending major eruption, such as animals fleeing down Merapi's sides or lighting around the peak.
Most Javanese, who make up the bulk of Indonesia's 220 million people, are Muslim, but many cling to spiritual religion and believe a supernatural kingdom exists on top of Merapi.
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