Thursday, June 08, 2006

15,000 flee from Indonesia's Mount Merapi

My GEOZ Professor will be orgasmic... an actual volcanic eruption looks to be immanent. Not that a volcanic eruption is good news mind you or that lives are in danger, but this disaster begain with an earthquake days ago, and with so many deaths logged so far, it is possible that more death is possible if the people on the slopes do not leave before it is too late. Natural Disasters in Action...

By ROBERT KENNEDY, Associated Press Writer

MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia - Indonesia's most dangerous volcano spewed a spectacular roiling cloud of hot gas and ash down its southern slope Thursday, sending more than 15,000 villagers fleeing to safety, scientists said.

Mount Merapi has been venting steam and ash for weeks, but the Thursday morning burst was the largest yet, with billowing, dark gray clouds avalanching 3 1/2 miles down its slopes, said Sugiono, an Indonesian vulcanologist who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

It was one of a series of powerful explosions early Thursday.

Some scientists say a powerful May 27 earthquake that killed more than 5,700 people in an area just 25 miles south of Mount Merapi may have contributed to the volcano's volatility in recent weeks.

The rumbling mountain's lava dome has swelled, raising concerns that it could suddenly collapse and send scalding clouds of fast-moving gas, lava and rocks into areas that have yet to be evacuated.

"A lot of people are panicking," said Sutomo, a government official at the scene, adding that 3,500 people had fled Sleman district on Merapi's southern side, some running and others piling in trucks and heading to nearby towns at the base.

Another 12,000 left their villages in Magelang district on the west side, officials said.

The government raised Merapi's alert to the highest level three weeks ago and started evacuating thousands of people living within four miles of the crater to government shelters, schools and camps. Some people refused orders to leave, however, saying they wanted to tend to their livestock and crops on the volcano's fertile slopes.

Stubborn villagers said Thursday that the latest burst would not scare them off.

"We are worried, but we won't leave," a villager named Supriatun told The Associated Press by mobile phone. "As long as the hot clouds do not reach us, we won't leave our village."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As long as the hot clouds do not reach us, we won't leave our village."


8:12 AM  
Blogger Spencer said...

Seems like a lot going on in the world today!

1:07 PM  

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