Newspaper Subscription
JG Logo
Welcome Guest   |   
Sun, November 7, 2010
Archive Search

Blast From Indonesia Volcano Raises Deaths to 122
Slamet Riyadi | November 05, 2010

Rescuers carry the body of a victim of Mount Merapi eruption in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on Friday.  A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia Rescuers carry the body of a victim of Mount Merapi eruption in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on Friday. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano, torching houses in one mountainside village. (AP Photo/Gembong Nusantara)

Share This Page


Post a comment
Please login to post comment


Be the first to write your opinion!

Mount Merapi, Indonesia. Searing gas avalanched down an Indonesian volcano with a thunderous roar, torching houses and trees and incinerating villagers as they fled Mount Merapi's worst eruption in a century.

Dozens of bodies found on Friday raised the death toll to 122.

The injured — with clothes, blankets and even mattresses fused to their skin by the 750 degree Celsius heat — were carried away on stretchers following the first big explosion just before midnight.

Soldiers joined rescue operations in hardest-hit Bronggang, a village 15 kilometers from the crater, pulling at least 78 bodies from homes and streets blanketed by ash up to 30-centimeters deep.

Crumpled roofs, charred carcasses of cattle, and broken chairs — all layered in white soot — dotted the smoldering landscape.

Merapi was active throughout the day on Friday.

The volcano, in the heart of densely populated Java island, has erupted scores of times, killing more than 1,500 people in the last century alone.

But tens of thousands of people live on its rolling slopes, drawn to soil made fertile by molten lava and volcanic debris.

Its latest activity started on Oct. 26.

After Friday's explosion — said by volcanologists to be the biggest since the 1870s — officials announced by loudspeaker that the mountain's danger zone had been expanded to 20 kilometers from the crater.
Previously, villages like Bronggang were still considered to be in the 'safe zone.'
"The heat surrounded us and there was white smoke everywhere," said Niti Raharjo, 47, who was thrown from his motorbike along with his 19-year-old son while trying to flee.

"I saw people running, screaming in the dark, women so scared they fell unconscious," he said from a hospital where they were both being treated for burns.

"There was an explosion that sounded like it was from a war ... and it got worse, the ash and debris raining down."

The greatest danger posed by Merapi has always been pyroclastic flows — like those that roared down the southern slopes at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.

With bodies found in front of houses and in streets, it appeared that many of the villagers died from the searing gas while trying to escape, said Col. Tjiptono, a deputy police chief.

More than 150 injured people — most with burns and some with respiratory problems, broken bones and cuts — waited to be treated at the tiny Sardjito hospital, where the bodies piled up in the morgue, and two other hospitals.

"We're totally overwhelmed here!" said Heru Nogroho, a spokesman at Sardjito.

Despite earlier predictions that dozens of big explosions that followed the initial blast last week would ease pressure building up behind a magma dome, eruptions have been intensifying, baffling experts who have long monitored Merapi.

In terms of the amount of volcanic material released — 50 million cubic meters — "it was the biggest in at least a century," said Gede Swantika, a state volcanologist, as plumes of smoke continued to shoot up more than 10,000 meters.

More than 100,000 people living along Merapi's fertile slopes have been evacuated to crowded emergency shelters, many by force, in the last week.

Some return to their villages during lulls in activity, however, to tend to their livestock. They were told to stay away on Friday.

Even scientists from Merapi's monitoring station were told they had to pack up and move down the mountain.

They were scrambling to repair four of their five seismographs destroyed by the heavy soot showers.

Before Friday, the death toll from Merapi stood at 44, with most dying in the Oct. 26 blast.

With the new deaths around the village of Bronggang it climbed to 122, the National Disaster Management Agency said on its Web site.

In 1994, 60 people were killed by Merapi, while in 1930, more than a dozen villages were torched, leaving up to 1,300 dead.

The volcano's initial blast occurred less than 24 hours after a towering tsunami slammed into the remote Mentawai islands on the western end of the country, sweeping entire villages to sea and killing at least 428 people.

There, too, thousands of people were displaced, many still living in government camps.

Associated Press


12:57pm | Indonesian Rights Group Slams ...
the only one who will surely be reprimanded was the one who made the video on the cell phone. he'll be made an example so that soldiers know not to ...

12:03pm | Indonesian President Urged to ...
And @ mauricG, are you sure with your opinion about NATO's reasons to bombard afghan? Surely you never read wikileak. Lol

11:56am | Indonesian President Urged to ...
The only reason of nato's attack to afghan and iraq is to robber their natural resources. If they invaded those country for crap democracy, whay they didnt attack dictators like ...

11:37am | Indonesian President Urged to ...
Mr feisal, let me tell you. The original source of global unsave was american colonialism, an not islam..its better to you to tell barrack about islamic sentiment to america ...

11:26am | Indonesia Unfriendly to Busine...
@konyol1 Excuse me? Could you please state your sources in the claims you made. Let's look at some of the issues shall we? I can supply links to (semi-)government ...

10:34am | Indonesia Reaches Out to Unite...
@forgetyourself: I second your sentiment - Indonesia is stepping backward in time. I hope Mr. Cameron R. Hume (American Ambassador for Indonesia) reads this and mentions it to Mr. Obama.

8:39am | Ahmadiyah Now Getting Targeted...
After Maluku and Palu, those agent provocateurs come to hound Jakarta. Now Ahmadiyah, next will be Chinese, Christians and other beliefs. The goal is Republik Islam Indonesia. If you have ...

3:38am | Indonesia Reaches Out to Unite...
didn't they ridicule and make fun of him because of his complexion when he attended that school in Menteng? I love how quick people are to pretend like they were "...

9:52pm | Indonesian President Urged to ...
The Bakrie mosque at Rasuna thought it was a good idea to broadcast yesterday that the reason for all the earthquakes and the volcanoe eruptions was because the Chinese and ...

9:07pm | My Jakarta: Risma, Adulterer's...
@BilboBaggins, I agree with your sentiment completely. Who are we to judge others?