Yogyakarta. The refugees at the Glagahardjo shelter in Sleman, Yogyakarta, were evacuated after Mount Merapi erupted again on Monday morning.
There was some difficulty in the evacuation, however, because most of the women initially refused to leave. They were waiting for their husbands to return from feeding the cattle left at their homes located near the volcano’s crater.
The men decided to gather hay for the cattle because they believed that the volcano would not erupt again. However, at 10:15 a.m. Merapi started spewing towering clouds of hot ash.
Fifteen minutes after the volcano erupted, military trucks arrived at the shelter to take the refugees to Cangkringan village hall, located one kilometer away, news portal Detik.com reported.
At first, the women refused to be evacuated, insisting that they would wait for their husbands. They argued with the evacuation team, who firmly told them that they had to leave the shelter for their own safety. The women only relented when the evacuation team promised to look for their husbands.
Lt. Col. Soekoso Wahjudi, the commander of Boyolali Military District, said that the evacuation went well.
“On Sunday, all hamlets in the disaster zone within a 10-kilometer distance from the mountain were already evacuated,” Soekoso told The Jakarta Globe.
Meanwhile, the eruption also triggered panic among locals at Jalan Kaliurang, Yogyakarta. Motorists rushed to leave town as soon as possible, which caused traffic delays. Military officers at the main evacuation post were deployed to help clear the congestion.
The eruption occurred on the same day as the scheduled visit of Gen. George Toisutta. the army chief of staff.
The eruption did not affect activity at Solo’s Adisoemarmo Airport.
“There is no impact so far, but we have notified all pilots to be careful during landing and takeoff,” said Edy Martono, the airport’s duty manager.
On Sunday evening, the airport was closed for a few hours because it was blanketed by volcanic ash.