Date:         Wed, 23 Nov 1994 15:46:31 MST
From: Global Volcanism Network 
Subject:      Merapi (Java) 22 Nov 1994 eruption

The following is a PRELIMINARY report of the 22 November 1994
eruption at Merapi (Java, Indonesia), based on information
received by the Global Volcanism Network on 23 November.  Note
that no direct information has been received from the
Volcanological Survey of Indonesia, and this report is primarily
based on news sources which may not be reliable.

central Java, Indonesia (7.54 S, 110.44 E)
All times are local (= GMT + 7 hours)

     A NOAA/NESDIS volcano hazards alert stated that on 22
November 1994 Merapi erupted and sent a plume to ~10 km.  At that
time winds aloft were toward the W at 18 km/hour (10 knots).  No
satellite imagery of the plume was mentioned.
     A United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA)
report on 23 November stated that the volcano erupted at 1015,
emitting a pyroclastic flow containing hot ash, gas, and other
particles in suspension flow 6 km down along the Boyong river in
Turgo village, Pakem subdistrict, Yogyakarta Province.  At that
time, 24 people were known killed, 95 were severely injured, 25
of 40 public works workers building a water treatment facility
were still missing, while 15 were found dead.  Evacuees totalled
6,026 from the neighboring villages in the subdistrict of Pakem.
Evacuation and emergency response measures had been undertaken by
the local authorities and community members.  Local volcanology
officials had advised authorities and local people to remain on
alert for 7 days.
     A broadcast of the Jakarta Radio Republik Indonesia Network
(in Indonesian at 1300) gave the time of eruption as 1030.  The
broadcast stated Merapi had been ". . . emitting hot smoke, sand,
stones, and ashes, causing 5 people to suffer burns.  Due to the
eruption, the sky over Sleman and Magelang was covered with dark
clouds and there was a shower of sand in the area."  The report
also stated that "Lava flooding has occurred in the area and is
flowing southward."  Another Jakarta Radio broadcast (at 1300)
said that from 2300 on 22 November through 1100 on 23 November,
Merapi had not emitted "hot smoke," but that lava continued to
flow.  A 23 November Tokyo Kyodo broadcast (at 0140, in English)
reported "Indonesia's team for disaster safety in Yogjakarta said
ash rain has reached Temanggung, about 45 km NW of Merapi."
     A UPI news report stated that, on the morning of 23
November, an official of the natural disasters office in Sleman,
said that 118 people were still in 3 public hospitals suffering
from serious burns.  Many of those hospitalized were in serious
condition, and more deaths were expeected.  The report further
stated that ". . . hundreds of homes have collapsed and thousands
of cattle were buried by ash."
     A U.S. State Department dispatch on the morning of 23
November stated that, according to sources in the area, the
eruption began at 1040 on 22 November, and was preceded by an
initial venting of steam about 25 minutes earlier.  The initial
eruption sent a plume approximately 800 m into the air and
scattered rock and gravel projectiles across the ashcone.  The
most serious damage, however, was done on the volcano's S side
where the eruption sent flows of hot volcanic mud (lahar) and
superheated steam cascading down the S slope inundating two
villages.  At this time, damage is believed confined to a radius
of 6 km from the volcano.
     According to press accounts collected by the U.S. Embassy,
the eruption has caused at least 16 fatalities, 11 missing,
300-plus injured, and destroyed hundreds of houses. Approximately
3,000 residents have reportedly been displaced from their homes.
Most of the casualties occurred when superheated gases swept
through two small villages (Desa Purwobinangun and Desa
Hargobinangun in the Sleman district) on the S slope of the
volcano.  The injured, dozens of them in serious condition, are
being treated in area hospitals. The eruption forced the
abandonment of the Plawangan Geophysical Station on the S side of
the volcano and ignited ~500 hectares of rainforest near
Kaliurang, a hill station popular with tourists. According to
press reports, Kaliurang has suffered some damage from ash cover.
     Merapi, one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia, sits
immediately N of the large city of Yogyakarta; at least 50,000
people live adjacent to its SW slope.  The stratovolcano has an
exposed, summit lava dome, the source of abundant glowing blocks
that continue to tumble down its SW slope.  In historical time,
instability of the growing dome has led to nuees ardentes that
have caused many fatalities, disasters described in many popular
books on volcanology.
     Information Contacts: Synoptic Analysis Branch, NOAA/NESDIS,
Camp Springs, Maryland, USA; DHA Disaster Administrator, Geneva,
Switzerland; Associated Press, Reuters News Services, United
Press International.

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