Saturday, November 06, 2010

Merapi Volcano, Indonesia - John Seach

High intensity eruptions continue at Merapi volcano, Indonesia. Heavy ashfall is occurring on the slopes of the volcano. Thick deposits of ash combined with rainfall is creating a lahar hazard. The danger zone has been increased to a radius of 20 km from the volcano, on the edge of the city of Yogyakarta. Roaring noises can be heard from a distance of 20 km. Pyroclastic flows claimed more lives on Friday, bringing the total to 118. Soldiers pulled at least 78 bodies from homes and streets blanketed by ash up to a 30 cm deep. Bodies were found in front of houses and in streets, and it appeared that many of the villagers died from the burning gas while trying to escape. Some hospitals are being overwhelmed with injured people. Nearly 200,000 people living on the mountain have been evacuated to emergency shelters. In the latest eruptions the worst hit village was Bronggang 15 kilometers from the crater. Ashfall has been reported hundreds of kilometres from the volcano. Malaysian Airlines rerouted a flight that was supposed to land in the city of Bandung 380 kilometers west of Merapi. This eruption has released 50 million cubic meters of volcanic material, making it the biggest in at least a century at the volcano. Plumes of ash continued to rise to altitudes over 30,000 feet. The Indonesian government announced an $11 million (US) program to buy the cows on the mountain to keep farmers off its slopes, and to provide compensation for animals lost in the eruptions.
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