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Indonesia volcano toll rises to 242

By the CNN Wire Staff
A villager stands amid ash and debris caused by the Mount Merapi volcanic eruption in the Indonesian village of Cangkringan.
A villager stands amid ash and debris caused by the Mount Merapi volcanic eruption in the Indonesian village of Cangkringan.
  • Most victims died of burns, government says
  • Mout Merapi started erupting on October 26
  • Officials say almost 400,000 people have fled their homes

Editor's Note: If you've been affected by Mount Merapi's eruption, share your stories with CNN iReport.

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) -- The death toll from last month's eruption of Mount Merapi rose to 242 on Sunday, Indonesia's government reported, with most of the victims killed by severe burns.

The volcano's rumblings have eased since Friday, when it spat more hot ash and sent residents fleeing again, but the government's alert level remained at its highest level Sunday.

Of the 242 reported dead as of Sunday, 165 died of burns, according to the National Coordination Board, government's emergency management agency. More than 390,000 people have been displaced, the board reported.

Indonesia's Mount Merapi started erupting on October 26. On Friday, it spewed volcanic material for more than an hour.

Merapi, which looms on the horizon north of the major city of Yogyakarta, is on the island of Java. Officials said Thursday the worst may be over, but a danger zone remains within a 20-kilometer (12.2-mile) radius of the volcano.

People flee Mt. Merapi's fury
  • Indonesia
  • Mount Merapi

U.S. President Barack Obama was forced to cut short his visit to Indonesia this week because of the volcano's ash cloud.

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

The volcano has a summit elevation of almost 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. Many people raise crops and livestock in its shadow.

About 1,300 people died when the volcano erupted in 1930.

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.