Tue, October 26, 2010
World > Asia-Pacific

Indonesia begins massive evacuation as volcano on top alert

2010-10-26 07:17:26 GMT2010-10-26 15:17:26 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Merapi volcano spews smoke, taken from Umbul Harjo village in Sleman, Yogyakarta on early October 26, 2010. Indonesia ordered thousands of people to evacuate from around Mount Merapi on October 25 as it raised the alert for its most active volcano to red, warning of a possible imminent eruption. (AFP)

JAKARTA, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian authorities in Central Java have begun evacuating thousands of residents living in the slope of Mount Merapi since the top red alert of eruption was issued, officials said on Tuesday.

Mount Merapi of 2,968 meters high located in densely populated area of Central Java, has shown increased seismic activity, including hundreds of tremors and spewing lava, since the warning was raised to the highest level on Monday, an official at the Merapi monitoring post in Sleman district of Yogyakarta named Triyono told Xinhua by phone.

Over 10,000 people live in the slope of the mountain and 40,000 others near the volcano, the official said.

Volunteers, soldiers and officials have helped women, children, elderly to leave the dangerous zone at radius of 10 kilometers from the volcano, while others escaped the area by themselves, said Teguh Raharjo, an official at Disaster and Mitigation Management Agency in Yogyakarta.

"We first evacuate the most vulnerable people like women, old people and children. So far over 1,000 people have taken shelters. This is just beginning and we expect the number to rise further," he told Xinhua by phone.

Mount Merapi last erupted in 2006 killing two people, after eruption in 1994 left 60 dead. Some 1,300 people died in an eruption in 1930.

Indonesia, which lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a zone with tense volcanic and seismic activities, has 129 active volcanoes.

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