News / Asia

As Indonesian Volcano Death Toll Grows, Evacuees Are Leaving Shelters

Man walks by destroyed farm school covered with volcanic ashes from eruption of Mount Merapi in Cangkringan, Indonesia, 14 Nov. 2010
Man walks by destroyed farm school covered with volcanic ashes from eruption of Mount Merapi in Cangkringan, Indonesia, 14 Nov. 2010

Rescue workers uncovered more bodies as blasts from volatile Mount Merapi eased in the past few days. The death toll now has reached more than 250 people.

Despite continued puffs of ash and debris, Indonesia's most active volcano has calmed enough for people to begin returning home to villages devastated by Merapi's last blast on November 5.

The work of digging out ash-covered homes has been slow, and victims buried in the eruption last week are only now being discovered. Others have died from burns received when scalding gas clouds roared through villages as far as 15 kilometers from Merapi's crater.

The government has reduced the evacuation cordon around the volcano from 20 kilometers to 10, easing some pressure on evacuation camps. Volcano monitors say the danger persists, but already officials are looking ahead to the recovery.

Officials say more than 350,000 people are still seeking refugee in shelters around the volcano, but more than 30,000 have packed up their belongings and headed back home to reclaim their lives in Merapi's shadow.

Sri Purnomo is the head of Sleman district, one of the hardest hit by the eruptions. He says the government plans to convert some areas around the volcano to a national park and will help with rebuilding efforts.

He says that if people go back to their land now, the government will help them fix their homes. But the government is also going to build people's respect and education, so that next time they will obey orders to evacuate.

Many people ignored evacuation orders, even as the eruptions grew more violent. Some believed the volcano's spiritual guardian would protect them from danger, while others returned home to check on the crops and livestock.

The government has been criticized for not enforcing evacuation orders more strongly.

Since Merapi began erupting on October 26 the government has raised the activity level on about 20 other volcanoes. It has put a high alert on at least three.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which includes the western coasts of North and South America and the major island nations of Asia - Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan. The region is prone to severe earthquakes and is home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Merapi's latest eruptions are its biggest in more than a century, though a blast in 1930 killed around 1,300 people.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid