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Indonesia Mount Merapi volcano erupts again Friday

By the CNN Wire Staff
Indonesian Special Forces look for victims of the Merapi eruption in the village of Glagaharjo on November 12, 2010.
Indonesian Special Forces look for victims of the Merapi eruption in the village of Glagaharjo on November 12, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than 200 people have died from the volcano, which started erupting again October 26
  • Nearly 400,000 people have had to flee their homes, disaster official says
  • The worst may be over, authorities said, but a danger zone remains
  • Mount Merapi lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) -- Indonesia's Mount Merapi erupted again Friday, spewing volcanic material for more than an hour, the official Antara news agency reported.

The death toll from the volcano's latest round of eruptions, which started October 26, 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, 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 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.

Survivor tells of Merapi terror
Ash everywhere from Mt. Merapi
RELATED TOPICS
  • Indonesia
  • Volcanoes

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.

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

Volcanic material from Friday's eruption could travel quite far, emergency officials said, because previous lava flows have destroyed trees and any other obstacles.

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

Merapi's seismic intensity declined after the initial outburst, but a major eruption occurred November 3 and peaked November 5, Antara said.

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 3,000 meters (10,000 feet). 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.

CNN's Andy Saputra contributed to this report.

 
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