Saturday, April 22, 2006
People forced to evacuate Merapi's imminent eruption
Most of those who have been moved are women, children and the elderly, but hundreds are still living near the slopes of Mount Merapi on Java, which has been placed on "Orange Code" - the second highest alert level - due to an increase in tremors.
The volcano, which overlooks the ancient city of Yogyakarta, has been rumbling and spewing out thick clouds of smoke for nearly a week.
"We have been evacuating the residents since yesterday," said Edi Purwanto, an official at the evacuation station.
"About 630 people had been evacuated by last night."
He said volcanologists had predicted the volcano was likely to erupt at the end of the month but some villagers, particularly older people, had refused to move because they wanted to die on their own land.
Merapi's last major eruption was in 1994 when more than 60 people were killed. One of its most destructive eruptions was in 1930, when 1,300 people were killed.