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Merapi: Red Alert Again!
16 February 2007, viewed: 841 times

Only one day after the status of Merapi was decreased into Alert Status on Tuesday 13 June, on Wednesday 14 June afternoon Merapi status has increased into Red Alert again.

Merapiís activities are still fluctuating, since the eruption phase began at June 8, 2006, Merapi is still showing its immense activities although at some times its peak are covered by mist that people could not see very clearly the mountainís activities.

At Friday, June 9 2006, the mountainís activity is increasing rapidly, with blazing lava falls recorded for 145 times, with the longest distance reaching about 4.5 kilometers. While pyroclastic flows could be seen for 83 times with the longest distance of 4.5 kilometers in the direction of Kali Gendol. The blazing lava are seen falling within a form of a river flow, since Geger Boyo (formerly created lava dome of Merapi) fell down at June 4, 2006, that allowed blazing lava coursing downwards the mountainís body.

The most feared element of Merapi eruption is the pyroclastic flows, since Merapi is known for not having a vertical eruption type but the lava flows will create a large heat clouds containing ash, rocks and other mountainís materials. Since the direction of the clouds could not be predicted, the government is now compelling a thorough evacuation for the people living in the distance of 7 kilometers from the peak.

This evacuation process meets some difficulties because the people of Yogyakarta and Central Java province are still in the efforts of dealing with the earthquake happened at May 27. The governmentís focus is now split into two disasters and this has caused some problems to the people living in the surround of the mountain. The problems are in the evacuation vehicles and logistic providence to the displaced people.

Last Tuesday (13 June 2006) at 11.00 a.m. Merapiís status was lowered from Red Alert into Alert, considering the decreasing activity on the pyroclastic flows. Its fall range was not more than 5 km, and was considered not dangerous for the people surrounding Merapiís slope. Yet, ash fall is still falling in some areas. Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (the Center of Volcanology and Geophysics Disaster Mitigation) asked the people to stand by and forbid any climbing activities and tracking along the route of the rivers of Kali Gendol, Kali Boyong, Kali Krasak and Kali Sat; and in the range of 6 kilometers from the peak. After the status was decreased into Alert, it seemed that the communities were forced to return, even though the Merapi was still making noise and spewing ash fall. Yet, many villagers are still afraid to return to their villages. They prefer to live in camp even though in poor condition.

As Merapi activities is increasing again, spewing pyroclastic flows up to 7 kilometers from peak and the status was increased again into Red Alert, on Wednesday (14 June 2006) at 17.00 local time the returnees were fleeing again to the camps.

Until now (Thursday 15 June), Merapi is still spewing pyroclastic flow in every 20 minutes and the spewing range is 4 to 5 kilometers.

In Kemalang district, until now, YEU is still continuing its services by its medical service and psychosocial programs through acupressure service and facilitating childrenís activities in the camp (in Dompol and Kemalang). YEU is also making plans to undergo a cadres training in traditional medicine in which there were already 16 people enrolled for the training. Besides medical and psychosocial programs, YEU together with Forum Merapi is actively advocate the government in term of meeting the rights of the IDPs, especially on the health related needs. Since June 8 up to now (especially on June 8 Ė 10), YEU personnel in Kemalang were helping people to evacuate to the nearest post.
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