Evacuation Starts as Indonesia’s most active volcano rumbles

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian authorities started evacuating individuals alive on the volatile Mount Merapi volcano fertile slopes on Friday after an increase in volcanic activity.

The mind of Yogyakarta’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center, Hanik Humaida, cautioned that Merapi, Indonesia’s most active volcano, may erupt at any moment, maybe sending hot gas clouds down its slopes up to five km (3 miles).

Eddy Susanto, a neighborhood disaster mitigation bureau official, said about 300 people from two villages, mainly the elderly, pregnant women, and children, were shot into emergency shelters in Central Java’s Magelang district.

Susanto said emergency steps to evacuate people living within 6 km (3.7 miles) of the crater’s mouth were prepared as local administrations from Central Java and Yogyakarta states closely monitor the circumstance.

On Thursday, Indonesia’s geological agency increased Merapi’s alert level into the second-highest degree after detectors picked up increased action.

The 2,968-meter (9,737-foot) mountain is roughly 30 km (18 miles) in the Yogyakarta city center.

Merapi spewed ash and hot gas at a column as large as 6 km (3.7 kilometers ) to the skies in June, but no casualties have been reported.

Its last significant eruption in 2010 murdered 347 individuals and resulted in the evacuation of 20,000 villagers.

Government seismologists track over 120 active volcanoes.