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Indonesian volcano erupts again Saturday

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: Volcano erupts again on Saturday
  • NEW: Ash reaches city of Yogyakarta for first time
  • Mount Merapi erupted repeatedly on Friday
  • A plume about 1,500 meters high rises after one Friday eruption

(CNN) -- Indonesia's Mount Merapi erupted again early Saturday morning, spewing ash clouds that have dusted a major city for the first time since the volcano began exploding earlier in the week.

On Saturday morning, ash reached Yogyakarta, covering the city of roughly 400,000 like a film. Visibility was limited to about 10 to 15 meters and people in the city wore masks or handkerchiefs over their faces.

The last eruption of the volcano -- which began erupting Tuesday -- occurred around 1 a.m. local time (2 p.m. Friday ET).

On Friday, a major blast from Merapi spewed hot ash clouds and lava in the sky and sent people into the streets.

At least six eruptions on Friday prompted officials to warn residents to be on high alert and stay away from the volcano.

On Friday morning, one eruption sent a massive plume above the mountaintop, extreme weather chaser James Reynolds said. Ash drifted to the south after the eruption about 10 a.m. local time, Reynolds said. The plume was about 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) high.

Video: Volcano evacuees on edge
Video: Deadly eruptions in Indonesia
  • Indonesia
  • Mount Merapi

Residents started streaming down the mountain, heading for safer ground. Some were being evacuated after returning home following eruptions earlier in the week, said observers from the Volcanology Agency near Merapi.

Those living within a radius of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of Merapi may have to be relocated, said a police official in Yogyakarta.

The volcano killed at least 36 people when it exploded earlier this week, medical officials said.

Chief Inspector Gen. Ondang Sutasna told local television that he toured the area and believes that some places will be too dangerous to allow rebuilding.

No injuries or deaths were immediately reported Friday.

Rescue and recovery efforts continue to unfold, with the Indonesian government scrambling to help tens of thousands of residents displaced by the eruption.

The European Commission announced Friday that it was offering 1.5 million euros ($2.1 million) to help the victims of the volcano and this week's tsunami in Indonesia.

"This envelope will help around 65,000 people in Mentawai and at least 22,000 people in Yogyakarta/Central Java," the European Commission said in a news release.

"Humanitarian partners will use these funds to provide water and sanitation to victims; access to primary health care and disease control; food and nonfood items; emergency telecommunications, emergency shelter; psychological support; logistics and will mainstream disaster preparedness," the release said.

Mount Merapi, which looms on the horizon north of Yogyakarta, is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes and lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas. The volcano has a summit elevation of nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 meters).

CNN's Kathy Quiano contributed to this report.