Refugees hope to return home despite risks in Indonesia's Mount Merapi

08:44, November 17, 2010      

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Refugees of Indonesia's Mount Merapi hope to return home even though risk remains as the authorities have not changed the top level risk alert.

Hartje Winerungan, head of Public Relation Division of the National Agency of Disaster Management (BNPB), told Xinhua on Tuesday that the risk level of the volcano is still at the top.

However, he said, the authorities have changed danger distance in several regions except for Sleman regency of Yogyakarta province where the range remains at 20 kilometers from the top.

Meanwhile, the danger distance in Magelang regency in Central Java province was changed to 15 kilometers while in Klaten and Boyolali regencies of the same province, the range was 10 kilometers from the top.

According to reports issued by the Center of Volcanology and Geology Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG), from Monday to Tuesday, there were 32 tremors but no hot cloud emitted. However, there is a threat from cold lava and hot cloud. But, some refugees regarded the condition as stable.

"If the condition remains, we will wait until the weekend to return home. But, if Mr. Surono (head of PVMBG) says that there is a significant development, we will cancel the plan," Fachrudin Ibnu Azis told, which was agreed by about 20 refugees.

As of Tuesday noon, the death toll of the volcano eruption was at 259. Among the victims, 198 were in Yogyakarta province and 61 in Central Java province.

According to Winerungan, there are 328,450 refugees, 158,367 people in Yogyakarta and 170,083 others in Central Java.

According to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, director of Natural Risk Reduction of BNPB, the eruption this year was bigger than in 1872.

"Merapi eruption in 2010 recorded a new history in term of the amount of the eruption. It was showed by the huge number of volcanic material it emitted," said Nugroho.

He said that the emissions were estimated at more than 140 million cubic meters, higher than 100 million cubic meters in 1872 an 14 million cubic meters in 2006 eruption.

He also said that the duration of the eruption this year was more than two weeks so far, while the 1872 one lasted 120 hours.

Source: Xinhua


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