Friday, November 12, 2010

Indonesia volcano death toll tops 200

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) -- The death toll from the recent eruptions of Indonesia\'s Mount Merapi volcano has reached 206 and nearly 400,000 people have had to flee their homes, a national disaster official said Friday.

Mount Merapi, which looms on the horizon north of the major city of Yogyakarta, erupted October 26. It is located on the island of Java.

\"Rescue workers recovered more bodies in the villages,\" said Haartje Robert Winerungan of the National Disaster Coordination Agency. \"In total, there are 150 victims burned to death.\"

In addition, he said, a total of \"380,049 people are still displaced in around Yogyakarta and Central Java.\"

Disaster officials said Thursday the worst may be over, but a danger zone remains within a 20-kilometer (12.2-mile) radius of the volcano.

Flights returned to normal Monday, but U.S. President Barack Obama was forced to cut short his visit to Indonesia this week because of the volcano\'s ash cloud.

Volcano may cut Obama Jakarta trip short RELATED TOPICS



Merapi\'s recent eruptions have released about 140 million cubic meters (4.9 million cubic feet) of magma, the disaster agency said. The previous record flow occurred in 1872, at 100 million cubic meters (3.5 million cubic feet). Magma is a mixture of molten rock, solid particles and other material found beneath the earth\'s surface.

Government volcanology experts have kept Merapi\'s alert level at 4, the highest.

On Wednesday, the Merapi Disaster Health Team said the recent eruptions have seriously injured 145 people and left scores of others less severely hurt.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called the volcano eruptions a crisis situation. Over the weekend, he and several of his ministers visited Yogyakarta to oversee relief efforts.

The volcano has a summit elevation of nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 meters). It is one of Indonesia\'s most active volcanoes and lies in one of the world\'s most densely populated areas.

About 1,300 people died when Merapi erupted in 1930.

Many people continue to live in the shadow of the volcano, raising crops and livestock.

The president has announced that residents will receive compensation for livelihoods and animals lost to the eruptions. The government will buy endangered cows on the volcano, Yudhoyono said. Many of those who live on its slopes risked their lives by staying or returning to feed their cows during lulls in the volcanic activity.

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