Death Toll Increases in New Mount Merapi Eruption in Indonesia – At least 64 people have died in the most recent eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano. Since it became active again last week, it has doubled the death toll.
The latest eruption started late on Thursday which sent residents streaming down the mountain with ash-covered faces. According to volcanologists Surono, this is the biggest eruption so far. The heatclouds went down the slopes as far as 13km (8 miles) and the explosion was heard as far as 20km away. Authorities have decided to widen the danger zone around the crater from 15kmto 20 km.
Unfortunately, more than 100 people are now said to have been killed. Approximately 75,000 residents have been evacuated from the area. Many are still being treated for burns and respiratory problems after a gas cloud hit village with even greater force than the previous eruptions. Rescuers said that some of the villages in the area were in flames.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had an announcement that the government will buy all the cattle from farmers in the affected villages in order to keep people from going back to their homes during the crisis.
Many of the dead are believed to be children from Argomulyo village which is 18km (11 miles) from the crater. According to the local hospital spokesman Heru Nugroho, 54 bodies had been brought in on Friday and more than 66 others were injured, many of them were critically burnt.
Nonetheless, scientists are warning of further eruptions in the coming weeks.