New Merapi Eruption Imminent

In Asia, News Headlines, Volcanoes

MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian vulcanologist is warning that Mount Merapi (meh-RAH’-pee) could erupt again at any time. It’s been shooting clouds of gas and debris up to 3,000 feet. Ash and pyroclastic flows are pouring down its slopes.

Authorities say more bodies were found today, pushing the death toll from 138 to 141. About 100 people were killed Friday.

Most victims were placed in a mass grave. News coverage of the burial has prompted many residents of a city (Yogyakarta) of 400,000 about 20 miles from Merapi to flee. Trains have been packed.

Experts say the biggest threat to the city is not searing gas clouds, but a river, which flows right into the city’s heart. It could act as a conduit for deadly volcanic mudflows which can move up to 60 mph.

Concerns about airborne ash after Friday’s massive eruption prompted many international airlines to cancel weekend flights to the capital, Jakarta, but all are flying again.

And the White House says President Barack Obama is still scheduled to touch down tomorrow.

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