Indonesia's volcano eruption death toll climbs to 107

18:40, 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)

A volcano in Central Java of Indonesia re-erupted earlier Friday, killing at least 69 people and injuring seriously 71 others, bringing the total fatalities to 107 since its eruption on Oct. 26, officials said here.

Rescuers have raced to find some other victims of the eruption. "Now the death toll is 69 people. The number of fatalities and injured persons are expected to rise as there are some areas still could not be reached by the rescuers due to hot ashes," press officer at Sardjito hospital Susan Ananti told Xinhua.

Coordinator of the rescuer named only Marsono said that the rescuers comprising soldiers, volunteers, and the rescuers from Central Java Search and Rescue office named only Marsono told Xinhua that the rescuers must conduct their work carefully under the threat of hot ash and poisonous gas.

Hot ashes rained the area by up to 45 kilometers, an official at Volcanology Agency in Yogyakarta province Kurniati Rinekso told Xinhua.

"The rumbling and the tremor of the mount are still recorded by the equipment now,"he said.

In Jakarta, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that one brigade soldiers would be deployed to the affected areas for emergency relief work and he would depart to Yogyakarta Friday afternoon and stay there for days to ease coordination of the work.

The most volatile Mount Merapi of 2,968 meters high, erupted again for three hours after midnight, unleashing continuously hot ashes by up to 8 kilometers high and spreading to all direction, with ashes reaching 45 kilometers away, which led the authorities to extend evacuation zone to 20 kilometers, the official at the volcanology agency official in Yogyakarta said.

The latest eruption on Friday has caused serious impact as some houses were burned down in Sleman district of Yogyakarta province by the hot ashes, and the main airport of Adi Sucipto in Yogyakarta province has been closed since 06:00 a.m. Jakarta time Friday, (2300 GMT Thursday), officials have said.

So far tens of thousands of people have taken shelters at stadium, university, local House of Representatives, sport facility buildings, schools, mosques, according to officials, according officials.

But, spokesperson of the National Disaster and Mitigation Management Agency Nelis Zuliasri told Xinhua by phone from Jakarta that there were 1,298,406 people in the radius of 20 kilometers and they must leave the area.

"All of them must leave the area for safety,"she told Xinhua by phone from Jakarta.

Mount Merapi is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. The Southeast Asian country lies in a quake-prone zone called the Pacific Ring of Fire, and now has 129 active volcanoes.

The previous eruption of Mount Merapi in 2006 killed two people. A 1994 eruption claimed 60 people's lives. A major eruption in 1930 killed more than 1,000 people's lives.

Source: Xinhua


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