Evacuation begins as Indonesia’s most Active Volcano Rumbles

The Indonesian authorities have evacuated hundreds of people living on the volatile Mount Merapi volcano’s fertile slopes on Java island following an increase in volcanic activity. The head of Yogyakarta’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center, on Friday warned that Mount Merapi, Indonesia’s most active volcano, could erupt at any time, possibly sending hot gas clouds down its slopes up to five kilometres.

Edy Susanto, a local disaster mitigation agency official, said about 300 people from two villages, mostly the elderly, pregnant women and children, were taken to emergency shelters in Central Java’s Magelang district.

The 2,968-meter (9,737-foot) mountain is about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the Yogyakarta city center. About a quarter million people live within a 10-kilometer (6-mile) radius of the volcano. Its last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people and caused the evacuation of 20,000 villagers.