November 4, 2010 in Nation/World

More flee amid huge volcanic blast

Associated Press

MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia – Indonesia’s deadly volcano sent a burst of searing gas high into the air today, hours after its most explosive eruption in a deadly week triggered an exodus from villages and emergency shelters along its rumbling slopes.

After days of continual explosions, and warnings that pressure inside Mount Merapi may still be building, the province warned it was running out of money to help more than 70,000 people forced from their homes.

Soldiers loaded women and crying children into trucks while rocks and debris rained from the sky late Wednesday afternoon. Several abandoned mountainside homes were set ablaze and the carcasses of incinerated cattle littered the scorched flanks.

No new casualties were reported after the new fiery blasts.

“This is an extraordinary eruption,” said Surono, a state volcanologist who had earlier said energy building up behind a magma dome in the crater appeared to be easing.

He said Wednesday’s powerful blast, which dusted cars, trees and roads in towns up to 130 miles away in gray ash, had triple the force of the first eruption on Oct. 26.

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