Rescuers race to search survivors of Indonesia's volcano

17:00, November 05, 2010      

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Photo taken on Nov. 5, 2010 shows a hand of a victim in Volcano Merapi's latest re-eruption at Dr. Sardjito Hospital in Yogyagarta, Central Java of Indonesia. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)

Rescuers are battling to find out survivors or dead bodies after the strongest eruption of Indonesia's volcano in Central Java earlier Friday that killed 55 people and left more than 71 others seriously injured.

The most volatile Mount Merapi of 2,968 meters high has frequently erupted since Oct. 26, the Friday eruption has brought total fatality to 92, officials said.

Rescuers from Search and Rescue office in Central Java, soldiers, police and volunteers have combed the area at the slope of the volcano to find and rescue those possibly killed or survive from hot ash, rescue coordinator from the office named only Marsono told Xinhua.

"They race with the time, as the threat from hot ash is still on. We must bring them quickly by car or truck," he said.

Trucks, cars and ambulance have been prepared near the location to rush those found dead or alive to hospital, said Marsono.

"We also evacuate those living in the area deemed dangerous to the safe zone," he said.

Besides, the threat of lava flowing in the river and poisonous gas were also threatening the rescuers, said Marsono.

Ambulances carrying those injured and dead bodies kept coming to the biggest hospital of DR Sardjito in Yogyakarta after the latest eruption.

Volcanology Agency has extended evacuation zone from 15 to 20 kilometers, forcing over 1.3 million people to seek shelters, spokesperson of the National Disaster and Mitigation Management Agency Nelis Zuliasri told Xinhua by phone from Jakarta.

"All of them must leave the area for safety," she said.

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