10/27/2010, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Yet another natural disaster in Indonesia: Merapi erupts 25 dead

by Mathias Hariyadi
The volcano began erupting last night. Hot clouds up to 600 ° C, lava, ash and toxic gases bring the population of Yogyakarta and other four districts of Central Java to their knees. Relief begins to arrive in the tsunami-affected Mentawai islands.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – At least 25 people have died following the overnight eruption of the Merapi volcano, with hot clouds of up to 600 ° C, lava, ash and toxic gas which are bringing the people of Yogyakarta and four other districts Central Java to their knees.

The eruption, which began last night, had been predicted by volcanologists in time to evacuate the more than 60 thousand people living around the volcano.

Currently rescue teams are concentrating their efforts on the villages of Kinahrejo and Turgo, where 15 dead bodies were found, among them also to Mbah Maridjan, owner of the dwelling and known as the spiritual guardian of the volcano.

Sacred for most of the local population, Merapi is 2,968 meters high and is considered one of the most active and explosive volcanoes in the world. The last eruption was in 2006 and killed two people.

Meanwhile, the death toll of the tsunami that struck yesterday in the Mentawai islands, West Sumatra (150 km from Jakarta) has increased to 154.  Indonesian President Yudhoyono, in Hanoi (Vietnam) for the ASEAN summit, says he will travel later today to Padang, capital of the region, to monitor relief efforts.

The Church is also committed to bringing aid to people affected by the eruption and tsunami. Ierene Setiadi of the Catholic Humanitarian Group (Kbkk) said: "We will send our humanitarian aid to victims of disasters."

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Tsunami: rescue operations hampered by lack of transportation and volunteers
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Indonesia still hard-pressed to cope with volcanic eruptions and tsunami
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Central Java: hundreds of thousands of people still fleeing Mount Merapi
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Merapi volcano erupts, 19 thousand people evacuated in Java
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Central Java: Merapi erupts again, no victims
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