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Rescuers battle for evacuation as Indonesias volcano toll rises

11-12-2010 14:04 BJT

SLEMAN, Indonesia, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Rescuers are battling to search for victims amid increasing intensity of volcanic activities that have killed 202 people, officials said on Friday.

Members of a rescue team remove a body in the volcanic ash-covered Ngancar village
in Sleman district, Indonesia’s central Java province November 9,
2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Head of Search and Sescue Office in Central Java named only Marsono said that there were thousands of people in some sub- districts in Magelang district of Central Java, located in the dangerous zone (20 kilometers), still stayed there. "The subdistrict of Muntilan and others sub-districts in Magelang district are located in the radius of over 16 kilometrs from the volcano, the people there refuse to leave the area," Marsono told Xinhua.

Besides, he said that scores of people had returned to the dangerous zone, including sand miners and villagers who want to take care of their cattle and plants at home. "This is very dangerous for them, the hot ash could come at any time," said Marsono.

Searching was carried out when the intensity of the volcano activity weakened, he said.

"Our personel must be careful and watch closely on the possibility of hot ash to come, should there is sign on it, we must escape," said Marsono.

On Friday, rescuers have found eight more bodies and brought them to DR Sardjito hospital in Yogyakarta, spokesman of the hospital Trisno Heru Nugroho said.

The new finding brings the total fatalities to 202 as the latest data of the national Disaster and Mitigation Management Agency stood at 194 people on Thursday. As many as 498 people suffering froms serious injury still got medical treatment, the agency said.

The agency said that 370,000 people had took shelters, less than the total residence in the dangerous zone of 1.3 million people.

But the figure may decrease, as many of them wanted to come back to their homes at danger zone, but volunteers and officials halt them.

The seismic activity of Mount Merapi of 2,968 meters in Central Java on Friday was still high, but the intensity of the volcanic activity had been slowed since Thursday, an official at Volcanology Angency in Yogyakarta Kurniadi Rinekso said. "Today Mount Merapi only spewed ash by up to over 800 meters high, lower than that at the earlier eruption, but the seismic activity is still high, at the higest top level," he told Xinhua.

Head of the National Disaster Management Agency Syamsul Maarif said on Thursday that preparations had been made to cope with the secondary impact of the eruption.

Mount Merapi has frequently erupted since Oct.26.

The previous eruption of Mount Merapi in 2006 killed two people. A 1994 eruption claimed 60 lives. A major eruption in 1930 killed more than 1,000 people.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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