Villagers evacuated from Java volcano

Villagers on the slopes of a rumbling Indonesian volcano have begun to evacuate their homes as scientists warn the mountain could be on the brink of a major eruption.

    The slopes of Mount Merapi are home to about 30,000 people

    On Friday a group of about 100 elderly, sick, pregnant or very young residents were transported away from the area around Mount Merapi in central Java, with officials warning that a mandatory evacuation order for thousands more could come within days.

    Mount Merapi has become increasingly active in recent days, spewing clouds of hot gases and smoke and scientists say all the conditions for an eruption are present.

    A "standby" alert status issued by scientists last week remained in effect. The alert is one stage below that required for the full evacuation of nearly 30,000 villagers living around the volcano.

    Meanwhile the revered king of the nearby city of Yogyakarta has said he believes an eruption will happen within 10 days.

    Prediction

    Merapi has been spewing clouds
    of hot gas and smoke

    King Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono's warning is likely to be taken seriously in Yogyakarta, just 18 kilometers from the volcano, because the city's one million residents hold him in deep, almost mystical, respect.

    "This is not a prediction from a mystic, but is based on scientific data and experience," he was quoted as saying by Media Indonesia daily.

    Indonesia sits astride the so-called "Ring of Fire," a series of volcanoes and fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia to New Zealand. It has more active volcanoes than any other nation.

    Merapi last erupted in 1994, sending out a searing cloud of gas that burned 60 people to death. About 1,300 people were killed when it erupted in 1930.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    When somebody dies lonely and alone, Miyu Kojima steps in to clean their home and organise the mementos of their life.

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    The rise of the Orthodox Church in Russia appears unstoppable, write filmmakers Glen Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna who went to investigate the close ties between the church and Putin.

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    Much of India's media spurns a scoop about the son of PM Modi's right-hand man. Plus, NFL as platform for race politics.