Volcano death toll rises to 273 in Indonesia

Nov 17, 2010 12:00 AM

The death toll from the eruptions of Indonesia's Mount Merapi rose to 273 after rescue workers discovered more bodies in ash-covered hamlets on the volcano's slopes, a disaster official said, DPA reported.

The National Disaster Management Agency official, who declined to be named, said the number of evacuees declined to about 300,000 from more than 380,000 late last week. Tens of thousands of villagers returned to their homes immediately after scientists reduced the danger zones early this week from 20 to 10 km. in some areas of Merapi's slopes.

Subandrio, head of the Vsolcano Investigation and Technology Development Institution, said the volcano's condition was stable with no emissions from the crater recorded since midnight Tuesday. But he said the alert status was being maintained at the top level.

Merapi erupted for the first time in four years on October 26. The Central Java volcano's biggest blast in decades occurred November 5, leaving more than 100 people dead and forcing tens of thousands from their homes.

The 2,968-metre volcano's deadliest eruption on record occurred in 1930 when 1,370 people were killed.

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