Mount Marapi's Fury: 11 Lives Claimed in Indonesia as Volcano Spews Ash Over 9,800 Feet

Mount Marapi's Fury: 11 Lives Claimed in Indonesia as Volcano Spews Ash Over 9,800 Feet

Jakarta - Mount Merapi in Indonesia continued its ominous activity on Sunday, emitting bursts of scorching gas and dust, while the death toll from recent eruptions continued to rise.

During the afternoon, at least two significant pyroclastic flows were observed on the southern side of Mount Merapi. These flows, characterized by fast-moving bursts of intensely hot gas and rock fragments, pose a severe threat. Notably, a similar event from Mount Merapi claimed two lives in 2006, and another resulted in over 60 casualties in 1994.

The massive clouds of gas and dust disrupted air travel, leading to cancellations of flights to and from Yogyakarta. Explosions from the volcano resonated in the suburbs of the city, located about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) away.

This activity falls within the expanded danger zone of Mount Merapi, set at 20 kilometers by Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency following Friday's deadly eruptions. Surprisingly, villages previously considered safe were affected, with victims residing 10 to 20 kilometers away from the volcano, as reported by a spokesperson from Sardjito Hospital in Yogyakarta.

Since the eruption began on October 26, at least 156 people have lost their lives, according to Sigit, a doctor at Sardjito hospital. Relief agencies, including Plan Indonesia, estimate that around 200,000 people have been displaced.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, accompanied by several ministers, visited Yogyakarta on Sunday to oversee relief efforts. The president announced compensation for residents who suffered losses to their livelihoods and animals due to the eruptions. He also revealed plans for the government to purchase endangered cows on the volcano, a move to support those who raise cattle on its slopes.

The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency reported ash columns reaching up to 6 kilometers (3.7 miles). Data from the Indonesian Volcanology Technology Development and Assessment Agency indicated that a hot ash cloud impacting a village near the crater had temperatures ranging from 450 to 600 degrees Celsius (842 to 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit).

Mount Merapi, standing at 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) in Central Java, is notorious for its unpredictability. In 1930, about 1,300 people lost their lives during a volcanic eruption.

Adding to the region's woes, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia's coast last week, triggering a tsunami and resulting in at least 449 fatalities, with hundreds more injured.

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