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Tag Archives: Mount Merapi

Volcano ash forces flight cancellations in Indonesia

Mount Merapi spews volcanic material as seen from Wukirsari, Indonesia, Monday, Nov. 8, 2010 (AP Photo)

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November 10, 2010 Jakarta, Indonesia (KATAKAMI / CNN) — Volcanic ash spewing from Indonesia’s Mount Merapi has forced some airlines to cancel flights out of Jakarta’s international airport, airport officials said Wednesday.

Cathay Pacific Airways and Qantas Airways had canceled flights at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, airport spokesman Andang Santoso said. Singapore Airlines said it was continuing to fly.

Large clouds of gas and dust from Merapi’s recent eruptions also have forced some flight cancellations into and out of the Yogyakarta airport.

Travelers were asked to check with their airlines for schedule changes.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama shortened his visit to the Indonesian capital because of concerns that volcanic ash could ground Air Force One in Jakarta, according to administration officials.

Recent eruptions of Merapi, which started on October 26, have killed at least 156 people, officials at Sardjito hospital have said. The eruptions also have displaced an estimated 200,000 people.

The 3,000-meter (9,800-foot) Merapi, in Central Java, is famously unpredictable. About 1,300 people died when Merapi erupted in 1930.

Indonesia’s Mount Merapi Volcanic ash disrupts Jetstar flights to Bali

Ash clouds from volcano Mt Merapi in Java have caused disruptions to Jetstar's flight schedule in Bali. (AFP: Clara Prima)

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November 10, 2010 (KATAKAMI / ABC.NET.AU) – Jetstar has been forced to cancel and reschedule flights to and from Bali because of an ash plume from Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano.

The airline is Australia’s most frequent carrier to Bali, with four flights out of Australia each day.

But it has stopped night flights to the island because pilots need to make visual checks on approach to the Denpasar airport.

Tonight’s flight from Darwin to Denpasar has been cancelled and a flight from Melbourne to Denpasar was re-routed to Darwin yesterday.

Another flight from Denpasar to Darwin is due to land in Darwin this afternoon – almost 12 hours later than scheduled.

The airline has rescheduled its Sydney-to-Denpasar service to ensure all flights to Bali land in daylight hours.

“It allows our pilots to have full visual scope of coming into and out of Denpasar International Airport airspace and we’re doing that purely as a precautionary measure in line with high safety standards,” Jetstar spokesman Simon Westaway said.

The airline is offering passengers a range of options to compensate them for any interruptions to their travel.

Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano causes more flight chaos

Indonesia's Mount Merapi spews massive hot clouds of volcanic ash and rocks as seen from Sleman district in central Java on November 6. Airlines cancelled dozens of flights to and from Jakarta, affecting international carriers from Europe to Asia, because of the volcanic ash. (AFP/SONNY TUMBELAKA)

Flights to Jakarta Canceled Over Volcano

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November 08, 2010. JAKARTA (KATAKAMI / Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama’s twice-postponed visit to Indonesia looked on track on Monday after flights to the capital returned to normal following a weekend of disruptions caused by a deadly volcano.

Mount Merapi in central Java began spewing lava, superheated gas and deadly clouds of ash two weeks ago, and has so far killed over 130 people and forced the evacuation of nearly 300,000.

Dozens of flights to and from the capital Jakarta, around 600 km (375 miles) from the volcano, were cancelled over the weekend after the volcano belched fresh clouds of volcanic ash 6,000 metres (19,000 ft) into the atmosphere.

Indonesian authorities saying conditions were safe, but international airlines scrapped scores of flights.

By Monday afternoon normal service had mostly resumed, though Filipino budget airline Cebu Air Inc said it had cancelled its 9.30 p.m. (1330 GMT) flight to Jakarta.

“All have returned to normal,” said Andang Santoso, a spokesman for the operator of Jakarta’s Sukarno-Hatta airport. “They trust us that there is no impact of Merapi here, so they can fly here.”

Authorities did, however, order the closure of the airport at Yogyakarta, the historic cultural city closest to the volcano.

“Since the weather is impossible … we decided to close Yogyakarta for both commercial and civil aircrafts,” said Harjoso Tjandra, operational and technical director at the airport.

On Sunday, U.S. officials said they were closely monitoring the situation ahead of Obama’s scheduled Tuesday arrival.

Obama has twice postponed visits to Indonesia — where he lived for several years as a child with his mother — the first time in March as he struggled to push through a healthcare reform bill in the U.S. and the second in June after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A British Airways flight came close to crashing nearly three decades ago after its engines sucked in ash from another Indonesian volcano, Mount Galunggung, about 180 km southeast of Jakarta.

Indonesia’s disaster agency said clouds of hot toxic gases continued to roll down the slopes of Merapi on Monday, hampering efforts to create a 20 km (12 miles) exclusion zone around the summit.

The country is also struggling with the aftermath of a tsunami in the remote Mentawai islands off Sumatra last week that killed at least 445 people.

Metro TV footage showed an aerial view of Borobudur, site of one of the world’s largest Buddhist temples and a UNESCO heritage site about 50 km northwest of the volcano coated with ash. (*)

Photostream : Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano still spews volcanic ash on Monday, death toll reaches165

A villager watches from Jambon village in the Sleman district of Indonesia's central Java province, as Mount Merapi spews smoke and ash, November 8, 2010. The death toll from the eruption of Mount Merapi, reaching 165 people. A total of 148 victims came from Yogyakarta, and 17 people from Central Java. The data was presented the Special Staff of the Presidential Disaster Area, Andi Arif, Monday (8 / 11), Metro TV reported on Monday. Data obtained from Dr. Sardjito Hospital, Yogyakarta. To reach the 453 people injured. The average victims died of burns suffered from hot clouds. It happened the first time since the Merapi eruption on October 26, 2010 ( Photo by REUTERS/Sigit Pamungkas )

Mount Merapi spews volcanic ash into the air as seen from Cangkringan, Indonesia, Monday, Nov. 8, 2010. The death toll from the eruption of Mount Merapi, reaching 165 people. A total of 148 victims came from Yogyakarta, and 17 people from Central Java. The data was presented the Special Staff of the Presidential Disaster Area, Andi Arif, Monday (8 / 11), Metro TV reported on Monday. Data obtained from Dr. Sardjito Hospital, Yogyakarta. To reach the 453 people injured. The average victims died of burns suffered from hot clouds. It happened the first time since the Merapi eruption on October 26, 2010 ( Photo by AP Photo/Trisnadi)

Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano spews smoke and ash, as seen from Jambon village in the Sleman district of Indonesia's central Java province November 8, 2010. Mount Merapi, on the outskirts of Yogyakarta, began spewing lava, superheated gas and deadly clouds of ash two week ago and has so far killed over 130 people and forced the evacuation of nearly 300,000. REUTERS/Sigit Pamungkas

Mount Merapi spews ash to the sky as seen from Cangkringan in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on November 8, 2010. International airlines were forced to reschedule dozens of flights to Indonesia yesterday as deadly Mount Merapi spewed ash into the sky, ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama. The toll from a series of eruptions since late October rose to 132 as bodies were pulled from the volcanic sludge that thundered down on central Java on November 5, Merapi's biggest eruption since the 1870s. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

Indonesian army special forces wearing masks prepare to evacuate the victims of Mount Merapi eruption at Pejambon in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on November 8, 2010. International airlines were forced to reschedule dozens of flights to Indonesia yesterday as deadly Mount Merapi spewed ash into the sky, ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama. The toll from a series of eruptions since late October rose to 132 as bodies were pulled from the volcanic sludge that thundered down on central Java on November 5, Merapi's biggest eruption since the 1870s. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

Ashes from the eruption of Mount Merapi cover Muntilan city, central Java, on November 8, 2010. Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano killed 85 people in its latest eruption, with scores more suffering severe burns, an official said on November 6, bringing the overall toll to 128. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

Photostream : Indonesian Elite Forces (Kopassus) and rescue team evacuated the victims of Mount Merapi eruption

Indonesian army special forces wears masks as they prepare to evacuate the victims of Mount Merapi eruption at Pejambon in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on November 8, 2010. International airlines were forced to reschedule dozens of flights to Indonesia yesterday as deadly Mount Merapi spewed ash into the sky, ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama. The toll from a series of eruptions since late October rose to 132 as bodies were pulled from the volcanic sludge that thundered down on central Java on Friday, Merapi's biggest eruption since the 1870s. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

Indonesian army special forces wear masks as they search for victims of Mount Merapi eruption at Pejambon in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on November 8, 2010. International airlines were forced to reschedule dozens of flights to Indonesia yesterday as deadly Mount Merapi spewed ash into the sky, ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama. The toll from a series of eruptions since late October rose to 132 as bodies were pulled from the volcanic sludge that thundered down on central Java on Friday, Merapi's biggest eruption since the 1870 (Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

Indonesian army special forces and rescue team evacuate a victim of Mount Merapi eruption at Pejambon in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on November 8, 2010. International airlines were forced to reschedule dozens of flights to Indonesia yesterday as deadly Mount Merapi spewed ash into the sky, ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama. The toll from a series of eruptions since late October rose to 132 as bodies were pulled from the volcanic sludge that thundered down on central Java on November 5, Merapi's biggest eruption since the 1870s. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

Indonesian army special forces and rescue team evacuate a victim of Mount Merapi eruption at Pejambon in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on November 8, 2010. International airlines were forced to reschedule dozens of flights to Indonesia yesterday as deadly Mount Merapi spewed ash into the sky, ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama. The toll from a series of eruptions since late October rose to 132 as bodies were pulled from the volcanic sludge that thundered down on central Java on Friday, Merapi's biggest eruption since the 1870. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

Indonesian army special forces search for victims of Mount Merapi eruption at Pejambon in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on November 8, 2010. International airlines were forced to reschedule dozens of flights to Indonesia yesterday as deadly Mount Merapi spewed ash into the sky, ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama. The toll from a series of eruptions since late October rose to 132 as bodies were pulled from the volcanic sludge that thundered down on central Java on Friday, Merapi's biggest eruption since the 1870 (Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

Indonesian army special forces search for victims of Mount Merapi eruption at Pejambon in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on November 8, 2010. International airlines were forced to reschedule dozens of flights to Indonesia yesterday as deadly Mount Merapi spewed ash into the sky, ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama. The toll from a series of eruptions since late October rose to 132 as bodies were pulled from the volcanic sludge that thundered down on central Java on November 5, Merapi's biggest eruption since the 1870 (Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

Flights to Jakarta Canceled Over Volcano

 

Indonesia's Mount Merapi spews massive hot clouds of volcanic ash and rocks as seen from Sleman district in central Java on November 6. Airlines cancelled dozens of flights to and from Jakarta, affecting international carriers from Europe to Asia, because of the volcanic ash. (AFP/SONNY TUMBELAKA)

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November 07, 2010. Jakarta (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA GLOBE) — Thousands of international air travelers are in limbo after airlines on Saturday canceled scores of weekend flights into and out of Jakarta over fears that ash clouds from Mount Merapi posed a danger, but then began reinstating or rescheduling many of the flights on Sunday.

The notoriously volatile Mount Merapi unleashed nearly 50 million cubic meters of gas, rocks and ash on Friday, its most powerful eruption in a century. Up to 138 people have now died on Merapi’s slopes in the past ten days of eruptions and gas cloud ash emissions, and authorities were still struggling on Sunday to deal with those injured in the latest blast.

Airlines canceled 50 Sunday flights in addition to 36 on Saturday over concerns about volcanic ash being spewed into the sky 430  kilometers to the east.

Signs of the eruption of the Mount Merapi volcano (C) puncturing the cloud cover over Java are pictured in this NASA Terra satellite image taken November 5, 2010 and obtained November 6, 2010.

The airlines halting flights to the capital include Singapore Airlines, Air Asia, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa and Japan Airlines.

However, some carriers resumed some flights on Sunday. Singapore Airlines reinstated two morning flights, and has added a supplementary flight from Singapore to Jakarta and back tonight. Malaysia Airlines said three flights from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta and three from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur would be operated as normal, but two flights in each direction remain canceled.

Soekarno-Hatta Airport operator Angkasa Pura II issued an official list of flights affected as of 12.15pm on Sunday:

Cancelled flights:
Emirates Airlines: 4 flights; EK-356/357 (15.45/17.45) EK-358/359 (21.45/00.15)
Philippine Airlines: 2 flights; PR-503/504 (12.30/13.20)
ValuAir: 2 flights; VF-507/508 (11.35/12.15)
Cathay Pacific: 2 flights; X-777/776 (13.05/14.50)
JetStar: 2 flights; JQ-115 (20.05/20.35)
Japan Airlines: 2 flights; JL-725/726 (17.20/22.05)

Flights previously canceled but reinstated:
Singapore Airlines: 2 flights; SQ-952/953 (14.45/15.40)
Singapore Airlines: 2 supplementary flights added; SQ-954/955 (20.45/21.40)
KLM: 2 flights; KL-809/810 (18.10/19.25)
Lufthansa: 2 flights; LH-778/779 (18.50/20.05)
Brunei Airlines: 2 flights; BI-737/738 (13.25/14.50)

Domestic flights to/from Yogyakarta cancelled:
Garuda Indonesia: 15 flights (8 departure / 7 arrival)
Lion Airlines: 4 flights (3 departure / 1  arrival)
Batavia: 2 flights (1 departure / 1 arrival)

Lightning strikes as Mount Merapi volcano erupts spewing out towering clouds of hot gas and debris, as seen from Ketep village in Magelang, Indonesia's Central Java province November 6, 2010. REUTERS/Beawiharta

Airlines are advising passengers to check their online schedules and announcements as the situation is changing hourly due to weather conditions.

Australian airline Qantas said it had made a careful assessment of weather conditions and will go ahead with today’s flight from Sydney to Jakarta.

A spokesman for Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport, which handles around 900 flights per day, confirmed that the airport remained fully open, and flag-carrier Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air are still running all international flights out of there.

“There has been no notice to airman so far from the aviation authorities which says the airport is affected by the volcanic ash. Therefore Garuda continues its activities,” Garuda Indonesia spokesman Pujobroto told news portal kompas.com.

Domestic flights from Jakarta are mostly unaffected so far, but flights to cities closer to Merapi on the main island of Java – including Yogyakarta, Solo and Bandung – have been affected, with the closure of smaller airports near the volcano delaying the arrival of burn cream and ventilators for those whose skin and lungs have been singed by searing gases.

US President Barack Obama is scheduled to touch down in Jakarta on Tuesday as part of a 10-day Asian tour. Since taking office, Obama has already twice postponed visits to Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim nation, where he spent four years as a child.

Paul Belmont, a US Embassy spokesman, said there has been no talk yet of canceling. “But certainly, if the situation evolves into something like what we saw in Europe not long ago (when the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul forced closed airports for a week) it’s something we’d have to take seriously,” Belmont said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Three Malaysian air force planes arrived in Indonesia to pick up hundreds of citizens stranded by the eruption of Mount Merapi. The Royal Malaysian Air Force says the C-130 transport planes left early on Sunday.

They will pick up 664 Malaysians, many of them university students who had been in the city of Yogyakarta, 30 kilometers south of the volcano. The city is on its highest alert for the danger of ash and lava flows from Merapi.

JG, AP, AFP

Indonesia : Mount Merapi refugees to be concentrated

Refugees look for second-hand clothes distributed at a temporary shelter for those affected by the eruption of Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Saturday, November 6, 2010. Merapi's latest round of eruptions began Oct. 26, followed by more than a dozen other powerful blasts and thousands of tremors. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

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November 06, 2010 (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA POST) — Yogyakarta government considers relocating people displaced by Mt. Merapi eruptions to stadiums and big buildings that can accommodate thousands of people in order to facilitate supply of food.

Governor Hamengku Buwono X said Saturday he would coordinate with the Sleman regency and Yogyakarta municipality administrations to relocate the refugees to Maguwoharjo Stadium in Sleman, and Mandala Krida Stadium and the Youth Center in Yogyakarta.

Refugee camps are scattered across Sleman, many of them accommodated at Maguwoharjo Stadium.

Refugee rest in a safe place as searing ash clouds shoot from the crater of Mount Merapi in Klaten district, Central Java, on November 6, 2010 (AFP/Bay Ismoyo)

The governor, who is also the Yogyakarta sultan, also offered the displaced people to camp at Pagelaran Sitihinggil square in his palace compound. “The place is open to the refugees if they feel secure and comfortable there,” he said as quoted by kompas.com..

More than 202,000 people from four regencies around Mt. Merapi have sought refuge after a series of eruptions, 56,000 of them in Sleman. (*)

Photostream : Hospital overwhelmed by Indonesia volcano victims

An injured, suffered from Mount Merapi eruption, receives treatment from an Indonesian medic at a hospital in Yogyakarta, Indonesia , Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010. The hospital at the foot of Indonesia's most volatile volcano is struggling to cope with victims brought in after the mountain's most powerful eruption in a century. Some have clothes, blankets and even mattresses fused to their skin. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

An injured, suffered due to Mount Merapi eruption, lies on a bed at a hospital in Yogyakarta, Indonesia , Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010. The hospital at the foot of Indonesia's most volatile volcano is struggling to cope with victims brought in after the mountain's most powerful eruption in a century. Some have clothes, blankets and even mattresses fused to their skin. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

An injured, suffered due to Mount Merapi eruption, receives treatment from an Indonesian medic at a hospital in Yogyakarta, Indonesia , Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010. The hospital at the foot of Indonesia's most volatile volcano is struggling to cope with victims brought in after the mountain's most powerful eruption in a century. Some have clothes, blankets and even mattresses fused to their skin. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

A medic, right, measures blood pressure of an Indonesian refugee at a temporary shelter for those affected by the eruption of Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010. Merapi's latest round of eruptions began Oct. 26, followed by more than a dozen other powerful blasts and thousands of tremors. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

An Indonesian refugee, left, is attended to by a medic at a temporary shelter for those affected by the eruption of Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010. Merapi's latest round of eruptions began Oct. 26, followed by more than a dozen other powerful blasts and thousands of tremors. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Volunteers assist an evacuee from Mount Merapi eruption having breathing difficulty due to volcanic ash exposure on arrival at a sport stadium used as an evacuation center in Sleman district on November 5, 2010. At least 54 people were killed and dozens injured Friday when Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano erupted again, burning villages as far as 18 kilometres (11 miles) away, officials said. The latest deaths bring the total toll to more than 90 since the country's most active volcano started erupting on October 26. (Photo by SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images)

Lava and ash spews from erupting Mount Merapi seen from Klaten district in Central Java province before dawn, on November 6. Indonesia's most active volcano, Mount Merapi, killed 77 people with its latest eruption and forced thousands to flee after it erupted again. (AFP/Bay Ismoyo)

Mount Merapi volcano erupts spewing out towering clouds of hot gas and debris as seen from Ketep village in Magelang, Indonesia's Central Java province, November 6, 2010. Merapi erupted with renewed ferocity on Friday, killing 65 people, bringing the total death told to over 100 and blanketing the area with white ash. REUTERS/Beawiharta

Indonesian army member distributes food for refugees at a temporary shelter for those who are affected by the eruption of Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta, Indonesia,Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010. Merapi's latest round of eruptions began Oct. 26, followed by more than a dozen other powerful blasts and thousands of tremors. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Indonesian Military (TNI) to build more field hospitals, kitchens to serve evacuees from Mt. Merapi eruptions

Indonesian soldiers (Kopassus) search for victims of Mount Merapi eruption at a village that was hit by pyroclastic flow in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 5, 2010. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano Friday, torching houses in one mountainside village and triggering a chaotic midnight evacuation. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Trisnadi)

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November 06, 2010 (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA POST) — The Indonesian Military (TNI) will set up more field hospitals and public kitchens in several places to serve evacuees from Mt. Merapi eruptions, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said Friday.

BNPB director Wisnu Wijaya told Antara news agency the TNI would deploy a brigade of personnel to support the disaster mitigation efforts, in line with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s order.

The brigade consists of medical, engineering, marine and transport battalions.

Wisnu said the military brigade would set up field hospitals, activate all hospitals in the region and open public kitchens.

The military would also mobilize transport means to help evacuation of people.

The Air Force meanwhile has also prepared six Hercules C-130 and three C-212 Cassa planes at its Abdurahman Saleh airbase in Malang, East Java, in case a mass evacuation of refugees takes place.

The airbase’s commander, Air Commodore Agus Dwi Putranto, told reporters the armada of planes had just arrived from a mission to flood-stricken Wasior in West Papua.

President Yudhoyono back to Yogyakarta to closely monitor Merapi

Soldiers carry a body from Argomulyo village in Indonesia's Sleman district of Central Java province November 5, 2010. Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano erupted with renewed ferocity on Friday, killing another 54 people and blanketing the surrounding area with ash. Ten days of eruptions have now killed nearly 100 people and forced the evacuation of more than 75,000. REUTERS/Stringer

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November 05, 2010 (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA POST) — President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announces he will closely monitor the situation of Mount Merapi from Yogyakarta as the volcano’s three major eruptions early on Friday have brought the death toll to some 100.

Yudhoyono said after a coordination meeting with some Cabinet ministers, the Indonesian Military (TNI) chief and the National Police chief at the Presidential Office in Jakarta he would come back to Yogyakarta on Friday evening and may stay in the presidential palace there to lead the disaster mitigation efforts. The president visited Yogyakarta and neighboring Magelang only on Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with people seeking refuge from the disaster.

Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said the president might move to the Military Academy in Magelang if Yogyakarta was uninhabitable, and that the length of his stay would depend on the development of the situation.

Yudhoyono also announced several instructions in a press conference after the meeting, including that all emergency activities would be under the sole command of National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head Syamsul Maarif, whose status has been lifted to a ministerial level.

“Although the Yogyakarta and Central Java administrations still function, seeing the scale of the disaster it is better than BNPB head takes the command with assistance from Yogyakarta and Central Java governors, Diponegoro Military Command chief, and Central Java and Yogyakarta police chiefs,” Yudhoyono said.

He added that he had instructed Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono to organize humanitarian relief for Merapi refugees, and the TNI to dispatch a brigade to help build temporary hospitals and emergency kitchens, as well as evacuate people.

The president also announced the government would allocate budget to buy cattle belonging to the locals at agreeable prices, saying it was expected to lure them not to return to their homes to take care of the animals after evacuation order was issued. He assigned Agung and the Yogyakarta and Central Java governors to deal with the matter.

Concluding the press conference, Yudhoyono asked journalists and the nation to pray for the safety of people around the volcano and an end of the calamity. (*)

Death toll from Indonesian volcano nears 100

A rescuer searches for victims of Mount Merapi eruption in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Nov. 5, 2010. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Gembong Nusantara)

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November 05, 2010 (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA POST) — The death toll from Indonesia’s volcano has climbed to nearly 100 in more than a week after a blistering gas cloud ripped through a mountainside village.

Hospital spokesman Heru Nugroho said 54 bodies were brought in after the inferno. More than 66 others were injured, many of them critically with burns.

Men with ash-covered faces streamed down Mount Merapi on motorcycles followed by truckloads of women and crying children, following the massive eruption just before midnight Friday.

Soldiers helped clear the bodies from the hard-hit village of Bronggang, located 9 miles (15 kilometers) from the crater, and up until Friday considered within the “safe zone.”

The toll since Oct. 26 – including 44 killed before Friday’s massive gas burst – stood at 98.

Photostream : Death toll from Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano nears 100

The bodies of victims of Mount Merapi eruption are placed at a hospital in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Friday Nov. 5, 2010. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano, torching houses in one mountainside village. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Rescuers carry the body of a victim of Mount Merapi eruption in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Nov. 5, 2010. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano, torching houses in one mountainside village. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Gembong Nusantara)

Rescuers carry the body of a victim of Mount Merapi eruption in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 5, 2010. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano, torching houses in one mountainside village. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Trisnadi)

Indonesian rescuers carry the body of a victim of Mount Merapi, at hospital in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Friday Nov. 5, 2010. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano, torching houses in one mountainside village. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

The body of a victim of Mount Merapi eruption lies on a ground covered with volcanic ash in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 5, 2010. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano Friday, torching houses in one mountainside village and triggering a chaotic midnight evacuation. (Getty Images /AP Photo/Trisnadi)

The body of a victim of Mount Merapi eruption lies on a road covered with volcanic ash as a rescuer walks by in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 5, 2010. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Trisnadi)

The hand of a victim of Mount Merapi eruption is seen covered in volcanic ash in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 5, 2010. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano Friday, torching houses in one mountainside village and triggering a chaotic midnight evacuation. (AP Photo/Trisnadi)

The hand of a Mount Merapi eruption victim is seen at a hospital in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Friday Nov. 5, 2010. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano, torching houses in one mountainside village. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Dead cow killed in an eruption of Mount Merapi lies covered in volcanic ash as rescuers search for victims in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Nov. 5, 2010. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano Friday, torching houses in one mountainside village and triggering a chaotic midnight evacuation. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Gembong Nusantara)

Indonesian soldiers (TNI) search for victims of Mount Merapi eruption in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Nov. 5, 2010. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano, torching houses in one mountainside village. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Gembong Nusantara)

Villagers take shelter after they fled their homes following another eruption of Mount Merapi in Klaten, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 5, 2010. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano Friday, torching houses in one mountainside village and triggering a chaotic midnight evacuation. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Indonesian soldiers search for victims of Mount Merapi eruption at a village that was hit by pyroclastic flow in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 5, 2010. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano Friday, torching houses in one mountainside village and triggering a chaotic midnight evacuation. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Trisnadi)

An ash covered victim of Mount Merapi eruption arrives at a hospital in Yogyakarta on November 5, 2010. At least 49 people were killed and dozens injured Friday when Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano erupted again, burning villages as far as 18 kilometres (11 miles) away, officials said. The latest deaths bring the total toll to more than 90 since the country's most active volcano started erupting on October 26. (Photo by SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images)

Death toll from Indonesia’s Mount Merapi climbs to 79

Rescuers carry the body of a victim of Mount Merapi eruption in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 5, 2010. A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia's most volatile volcano, torching houses in one mountainside village. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Trisnadi)

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November 05, 2010 (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA POST / AP) — A deadly surge of blistering gases cascaded down the slopes of Indonesia’s most volatile volcano, torching houses in one mountainside village and nearly doubling the number of people killed in just over a week to 79.

Thirty-five bodies were brought to a morgue at a nearby hospital, which was struggling to cope with victims. More than 65 people were injured, many of them critically.

Mount Merapi, which means “Fire Mountain,” has erupted many times in the last century, often with deadly results.

Though more than 75,000 people living along its fertile slopes have been evacuated to crowded emergency shelters, many by force, others are reluctant to leave their precious livestock. Some return to their villages during lulls in activity to bring fresh grass.

It was not immediately clear why Bronggang, a village nine miles (15 kilometers) from the crater, had not been evacuated when the searing ash, gases and rock fragments hit just before midnight.

“We’re totally overwhelmed here!” said Heru Nogroho, a spokesman at the Sardjito hospital, as soldiers continued to bring in victims, many with severe burns.

Despite earlier predictions by scientists that dozens of big explosions that followed Merapi’s initial Oct. 26 blast would ease pressure building up behind a magma dome, eruptions appeared to be intensifying.

“I’ve never seen it act like this,” said Surono, a state expert on volcanos, who has observed Merapi for more than 15 years. “We don’t know what to expect.”

Towering clouds of ash shot from the crater with a thunder-like roar on Thursday morning, sending soot 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) into the air and dusting towns up to 150 miles (250 kilometers) away.

Just before midnight, Merapi erupted again, sending pyroclastic flows down the mountain.

Such clouds can reach temperatures of up to 1,400 degree Fahrenheit (750 degree Celsius), while racing down the slopes at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour).

Waluyo Raharjo, a search and rescue official, was on the scene as bodies were pulled from charred homes and loaded into vehicles, bringing them to the hospital morgue.

Activity at the mountain forced an airport in nearby Yogyakarta to close Friday.

Subandrio, a state volcanologist, meanwhile, said Mount Merapi’s “danger zone” was widened to 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the crater’s mouth.

It was the second time in as many days the area was expanded.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 235 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanos because it sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped string of faults that lines the Pacific Ocean.

The volcano’s initial blast occurred less than 24 hours after a towering tsunami slammed into the remote Mentawai islands on the western end of the country, sweeping entire villages to sea and killing at least 428 people.

There, too, thousands of people were displaced, many living in government camps.

(MS)

Photostream : Indonesia’s Mount Merapi Erupts Again

Massive molten lava and searing ash clouds shoot from the crater of Mount Merapi captured in this extended time exposure photograph taken from Klaten district in Central Java province before dawn on November 4, 2010. Thousands more people were evacuated from villages around Indonesia's Mount Merapi as the volcano erupts again, shooting ash and heat clouds high into the sky. The 2,914-metre (9,616-foot) Merapi, is a sacred landmark in Javanese culture whose name translates as "Mountain of Fire." (Photo by SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images)

Molten lava flows from the crater of Mount Merapi captured in this extended time exposure photograph taken from Klaten district in Central Java province. An avalanche of heat clouds that can kill anything in their path streamed nine kilometres down the slopes of the volcano (AFP/Sonny Tumbelaka)

A view from a domestic flight from Denpasar to Yogyakarta that was subsequently diverted to Surabaya airport shows gas and ash billowing some 10 km (six miles) high from Mount Merapi on November 4. Indonesia ordered thousands more people to evacuate as the country's most active volcano erupted again, shooting gas and ash into the sky and triggering a new aircraft exclusion zone. (AFP/Clara Prima)

Mount Merapi volcano erupts for the fifth time as seen from Wukirsari village in Sleman, near the ancient city of Yogyakarta November 4, 2010. Mount Merapi has killed at least 39 people since it began erupting on October 26. Over 74 have been injured and more than 70,000 people have been evacuated, according to Indonesia's National Disaster Management Board. REUTERS/Beawiharta

A man wearing a mask sits at a temporary shelter at Bawukan village in Klaten of central Java province November 4, 2010. Indonesia's Mount Merapi blasted ash and gas into the sky on Thursday, killing six more people in the latest in a series of eruptions over the past nine days that claimed 44 lives and forced more than 75,000 to flee their homes. REUTERS/Andry Prasetyo

A man rides his motorcycle during ash rain in the city of Magelang as Mount Merapi volcano erupts November 4, 2010. Mount Merapi has killed at least 39 people since it began erupting on October 26. Over 74 have been injured and more than 70,000 people have been evacuated, according to Indonesia's National Disaster Management Board on Wednesday (REUTERS/Beawiharta)

Villagers ride on a truck as they leave their homes on a street covered by volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Merapi in Muntilan, Indonesia, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010. Indonesia's deadly volcano sent a burst of searing gas high into the air Thursday, hours after its most explosive eruption in a deadly week triggered an exodus from villages and emergency shelters along its rumbling slopes. (AP Photo/Trisnadi)

A family rides a motorcycle as they move to a temporary shelter which is further away from Mount Merapi volcano at Harjobinangun village in Sleman, near the ancient city of Yogyakarta, in the early morning of November 4, 2010. Mount Merapi has killed at least 39 people since it began erupting on October 26. Over 74 have been injured and more than 70,000 people have been evacuated, according to Indonesia's National Disaster Management Board on Wednesday. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Dwi Oblo )

Eruption welcomes President Yudhoyono at Mt. Merapi

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (left) meets refugees of the erupted Mt. Merapi at a shelter in Purwobinangun, Sleman, Yogyakarta, on Wednesday. Yudhoyono asked the refugees to be patient and sensitive with Merapi activities. Antara/Regina Safri

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November 03, 2010 (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA POST) — President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was welcomed by another eruption at Mount Merapi on Wednesday morning when he was about to visit a shelter site for refugees in Pakem, Sleman, Yogyakarta.

An officer at the Mt. Merapi observation post, Agus, said that the eruption occurred at around 8:20 a.m.

“It was a single eruption but quite big. The mountain spewed hot clouds which moved about five kilometers to west,” he added as quoted by Kompas.com.

Mt. Merapi, where an eruption on last Tuesday has killed 39 people so far, is still on top alert status as it still continues to erupt and spew hot clouds of ashes.

Political Parties Blasted for Indonesia’s Mount Merapi Volcano Aid

Yogyakarta Governor Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X

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November 02, 2010 Sleman, Yogyakarta (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA GLOBE) — Yogyakarta Governor Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X has criticized Indonesian political parties for potentially increasing the trauma suffered by victims displaced by the Merapi volcano disaster.

“At the moment, the problem is that ambulances and other vehicles are flying the flags of certain organizations and political parties, and sound their sirens too loudly,” Hamengkubuwono said at the main disaster mitigation post in Sleman on Monday.

He said the ambulances and vehicles passing by the post impacted on the concentration on members of the Disaster Mitigation Agency and had the potential to traumatize the evacuees.

“Moreover, the ambulances are not carrying patients who need emergency aid. So please, do not exaggerate in helping the victims, it may cause panic,” the governor said.

Hamengkubuwono said the Yogyakarta provincial administration, as well as the Sleman district administration, would not hinder volunteers and donors from helping the Merapi victims.

“They are very welcome to help the victims. It’s up to them to deliver the aid to the main post, directly to the shelters or to the evacuees themselves,” he said. “We hope the bureaucracy will not pose an obstacle to them. The most important thing is that the help must be rendered whole-heartedly.”

Political parties have previously been criticized for politicizing the Situ Gintung disaster on the outskirts of Jakarta just prior to the last year’s legislative and presidential elections.

Photostream : Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano spews hot ash again

In a picture taken from Kemalang, Klaten, in central Java Mount Merapi spews hot clouds of ash on November 2, 2010. Mount Merapi in Indonesia' s Central Java province early Tuesday spewed cloud of hot ash again, but there is no reports of casualties and material losses. The new blasts occurred at 5:25 am and 5:32 am but caused no panic among the residents living near the volcano, which has erupted dozens of time since October 26. The hot ash spread toward southern direction by 3 kilometers, Metro TV reported. The volcano's eruptions have killed 38 people and forced about 70,000 people take shelter, officials said on Monday. Photo : Getty Images / AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY

In a picture taken from Kemalang, Klaten, in central Java Mount Merapi spews lava on November 2, 2010. Mount Merapi in Indonesia' s Central Java province early Tuesday spewed cloud of hot ash again, but there is no reports of casualties and material losses. The new blasts occurred at 5:25 am and 5:32 am but caused no panic among the residents living near the volcano, which has erupted dozens of time since October 26. The hot ash spread toward southern direction by 3 kilometers, Metro TV reported. The volcano's eruptions have killed 38 people and forced about 70,000 people take shelter, officials said on Monday. (Photo by ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

In a picture taken from Ndeles, Klaten, in central Java Mount Merapi spews hot clouds of ash on November 2, 2010. The new blasts occurred at 5:25 am and 5:32 am but caused no panic among the residents living near the volcano, which has erupted dozens of time since October 26. The hot ash spread toward southern direction by 3 kilometers. The volcano's eruptions have killed 38 people and forced about 70,000 people take shelter, officials said on Monday. With an altitude of 2,968 meters, mount Merapi is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. The previous eruption of Mount Merapi in 2006 killed two people. A 1994 eruption claimed 60 lives. A major eruption in 1930 killed more than 1,000 people. (Photo by ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

In a picture taken from Kemalang, Klaten, in central Java Mount Merapi spews hot clouds of ash on November 2, 2010. The new blasts occurred at 5:25 am and 5:32 am but caused no panic among the residents living near the volcano, which has erupted dozens of time since October 26. The hot ash spread toward southern direction by 3 kilometers. The volcano's eruptions have killed 38 people and forced about 70,000 people take shelter, officials said on Monday. With an altitude of 2,968 meters, mount Merapi is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. The previous eruption of Mount Merapi in 2006 killed two people. A 1994 eruption claimed 60 lives. A major eruption in 1930 killed more than 1,000 people. (Photo by ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

A man rides a motorcycle as Mount Merapi spews hot clouds of ash in the background at Kemalang, Klaten, in central Java on November 2, 2010. The new blasts occurred at 5:25 am and 5:32 am but caused no panic among the residents living near the volcano, which has erupted dozens of time since October 26. The hot ash spread toward southern direction by 3 kilometers. The volcano's eruptions have killed 38 people and forced about 70,000 people take shelter, officials said on Monday. With an altitude of 2,968 meters, mount Merapi is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. The previous eruption of Mount Merapi in 2006 killed two people. A 1994 eruption claimed 60 lives. A major eruption in 1930 killed more than 1,000 people. (Photo by ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)