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Indonesian Volcano Releases Biggest Eruption

An Indonesian man watches as Mount Merapi erupts in Kepuharjo, Yogyakarta, 3 Nov. 2010.

Indonesia's Mount Merapi erupted with renewed force Wednesday, prompting evacuations of residents from emergency shelters to locations even further from the volcano.

Indonesian government volcanologist Surano said Wednesday's eruption was three times more powerful than Merapi's first blast on October 26.

The volcano sent hot ash and rocks five kilometers into the sky, forcing authorities to widen the evacuation zone around the mountain from 10 kilometers to 15 kilometers.

The new eruption happened as Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited emergency shelters housing 70,000 evacuees from earlier eruptions. Surano said shelters within the expanded danger zone will be moved further away.

It may be weeks before the evacuees can return to their homes.

Mount Merapi's eruptions have killed at least 38 people, most from burns and suffocation. There was no immediate word of any casualties from Wednesday's blast.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.