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Indonesian Volcano Causes Chaos, 3 Deaths



Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has declared a state of emergency on the main island of Java because of a major volcanic eruption.

Mount Kelud erupted late Thursday, sending a cloud of ash 30 kilometers into the sky.

The eruption killed three people and forced 100,000 to evacuate their homes.

The volcano has coated towns as far as 500 kilometers away with ash and rocks. Schools and businesses were closed and flights grounded at seven airports.

Hadi Rudyatmo, mayor of Surakarta in Central Java, tells VOA that his city was paralyzed Friday with all stores and schools shut down.

Scientists think the worst of the eruptions are over.



Indonesia has around 130 active volcanoes.

Last month, the eruption of Mount Sinabung on Sumatra island killed 16 people, forced thousands to flee and damaged crops.



Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono :

"I have spoken with the Governor Sukarwo of East Java, who is currently at the disaster zone. I have also given instructions to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the Chief of the National Police - whose members have been deployed to help the refugees - to intensify assistance in the affected zones."

Hadi Rudyatmo

"It's all paralyzed. All economic activities, shopping centers, trade centers in Surakarta are closed. Traditional markets are open but not a single individual has come. No transactions have taken place. All activities related to teaching and learning in all schools throughout the area have been suspended through Saturday as well."

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