Date: Fri, 25 Nov 1994 20:10:31 MST From: JOHN BEVEN
Subject: Press reports on Merapi eruption Dear Volcano-lister's, Here are Reuters and UPI press releases I've found on the Merapi eruption. I apologize if this information duplicates what other people have posted. Yours sincerely, Jack Beven National Hurricane Center firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 23-NOV-1994 06:47 Indonesia volcano toll climbs to 31, bodies buried By K.T. Arasu PAKEM, Indonesia (Reuter) - Grieving families Wednesday buried victims of a volcanic eruption on Indonesia's Java island which killed at least 31 people and trapped dozens more with a lethal mix of gases, lava and debris. The bodies of 15 people, including two children, victims of the Tuesday eruption, were given a mass burial in a Muslim cemetery, where a huge grave lay open for more bodies expected to be recovered from the volcano's destructive trail. Friends and relatives prayed as the bodies, wrapped in white shrouds, were lowered into the grave marked with the names and ages of the victims. "We expect more bodies," said an elderly man as he stood near the open grave in the cemetery in this village, flanked by paddy fields and fruit trees in the foothills of Merapi, or Fiery Mountain. State Secretary Murdiono quoted President Suharto, who hails from central Java, as expressing condolences for victims' families and promising assistance to the bereaved. Many of those killed or badly injured in the eruption were burned by searing steam, including guests at a wedding party that was held despite warnings, according to the officials in the village of Torku, in the shadow of Merapi. "The volcano spat hot gas," one survivor said. "We did not have much time to escape because we panicked." Soldiers cordoned off an area hit by the volcanic eruption, the most serious in years. But by afternoon some families began returning home after some of the area was declared safe. Survivors spoke of chaos as the volcano erupted, with a combination of tremors, lava flows and steam toppling or scalding trees and telegraph poles, crushing houses and burying animals and people alike. Many of the victims treated in hospitals suffered serious burns, according to an official at Panti Rapih, one of three hospitals in nearby Yogyakarta accommodating the injured. About 100 victims were still being treated. "Their skins have peeled, their color is reddish and most of their bodies are burned," she said. "I believe that most of the dead were burned alive." Some of the dead were too badly burned to be identified. Fears remained for dozens of people still believed missing, including some believed to have entered the area looking for firewood. At least 30 members of a 41-man team constructing a water treatment plant in the foothills of the mountain were still unaccounted for. More than 5,000 people were rescued from the villages on the slopes of the volcano and were being given shelter in nearby villages. The holiday resort of Kaliurang was evacuated, as high temperatures parched grass and trees. An official at the vulcanology office said the 9,800-foot volcano could erupt again at any time. "You know that there is always the possibility," he said. Indonesia is a regular victim of earthquakes and volcano eruptions. Merapi is one of the world's most active volcanoes, with its most destructive eruption this century recorded in 1930, when 1,300 people were killed. The official Antara news agency said that despite warnings, local people were reluctant to leave the area, regarding the volcano as sacred and likely to offer some supernatural signs if it were to cause a major disaster. REUTER 23-NOV-1994 04:03 Indonesians tell of surviving Fire Mountain's fury By K.T Arasu PAKEM, Indonesia, Nov 23 (Reuter) - Notodjojo was still dazed on Wednesday some 24 hours after Indonesia's mount Merapi destroyed her home in a furious swirl which killed at least 24 people and injured hundreds of others. "It happened so quickly, the first two eruptions were brief but the third was long and furious," Notodjojo, 37, told Reuters at a makeshift refugee camp in Pakem, 20 km (13 miles) from the central Javanese town of Yogyakarta. "There was so much ash, smoke and fire," she said, thanking God for saving her from the fury of the volcano. Notodjojo was alone at the time when Merapi blew and was unable to save more than a handful of clothes as she was whisked away from her home by government workers and volunteers. "I could hear screams and saw some houses on fire. I managed to escape before my roof came tumbling down," she said. "I was so afraid that I ran out of the house as far as I could," she added. Notodjojo, who eked out a meagre living from crops grown on her small plot of land, now shares a community hall with some 850 children and adults from the Pakem area. Sanitary conditions are poor but they are served hot meals. The sick are also being treated by hospital staff mobilised from other areas. Most of the survivors, like Notodjojo, had only managed to save clothing and were sleeping on the floor. "I am waiting to return home. I hope it has not been destroyed," said Pawiro Sunanto, 55. Suhardjono, village head at Pakem, said 20 people were confirmed dead but believed the death toll could be higher. He said there were still many people who were not accounted for, including a group of people who were building a water treatment plant in the farming town of Pakem. "Many of them (workers) are believed to be trapped in a ravine," he said. Suhardjono said hundreds of injured people were being treated at hospitals around Yogyakarta. Merapi or Fiery Mountain has so far killed 31 people. Many of those killed and injured on Tuesday were burnt by searing steam, including guests at a wedding party which took place despite warnings. An official at the vulcanology office said the 3,000 metre (9,800 foot) mountain was calm now, but further eruptions could occur any time. In the nearby Kaliurang tourist resort, grass and trees were parched by the hot gases. The vulcanology office said temperatures in the worst affected village of Turgo had reached 600 degrees Celsius (1100 degrees Fahrenheit). REUTER 22-NOV-1994 10:46 Indonesian volcano eruption kills 17 (Eds: raises death toll to 17, adds details) By Jeremy Wagstaff JAKARTA, Indonesia (Reuter) - A volcano on the Indonesian island of Java erupted Tuesday, killing at least 17 people, injuring more than 100 and burying dozens of houses in a gray sea of mud and lava, officials said. State television showed pictures of houses flattened and animals half-buried. Trucks were seen ferrying refugees from the slopes of the 9,500-foot volcano, known as Merapi or fire mountain. Hospital officials in Yogyakarta, 250 miles east of Jakarta, said many of the more than 100 injured people admitted to Yogyakarta hospitals were in critical condition. "Seeing the conditions of 48 patients taken to the Sarjito hospital, the possibility is that the number of fatalities will increase," one official was quoted as saying. The sprawling volcano, which overlooks the central Java city of Yogyakarta, erupted at about 2 p.m., spewing gas and lava, raining ash over towns and blackening the local sky. Officials said they expected further eruptions. "It's calmer now but more eruptions may occur later today. So far there have been only minor tremors," one official said. Hospital officials said their wards were crowded with people admitted with burns to their heads, arms and legs. Hundreds of villagers and tourists around the volcano's foothills were being evacuated, officials said. The volcano gave only a few warning spurts of gas before spewing lava, sand and stones, covering the sky over the nearby towns of Magelang and Sleman with dark clouds and sprinkling them with showers of ash. There are four monitoring stations at the foot of the volcano to monitor its activity. Indonesia is a regular victim of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Merapi, or "fire mountain', is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Its most destructive eruption was in 1930 when 1,300 people were killed. Its rumblings are regarded in Java folklore as omens of impending chaos. A vulcanology official said they had put local authorities on alert for the latest eruption Oct. 24. Hot gases were only detected earlier Tuesday, hours before the eruption. 23-NOV-1994 09:20 Indonesia volcano kills at least 27 JAKARTA, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- One of the world's most active volcanoes in Indonesia's densely-populated central Java stood silent and shrouded in fog Wednesday as the death toll rose to 27 and scores of others were still missing, officials said. Volcanologists warned area residents to remain at evacuation centers until further notice. The 9,550-foot (2,911-m) Mount Merapi, which is 310 miles (500 km) east of Jakarta, spewed hot clouds up to 3,280 feet (1,000 m) high and rained hot ash and sand Tuesday. Badaruddin, an official at Merapi's observation center told United Press International by telephone, "As of Wednesday morning, Mount Merapi is quiet again after Tuesday's wild eruptions." By mid-Wednesday Merapi's crater was covered by fog and lava continued to flow. Turgo, a village in the Sleman district 3 miles (5 km) from Merapi's crater, was the hardest hit by the eruption. Thirteen people were killed by hot clouds, Badaruddin said. Indonesian President Suharto expressed concern about the situation, particularly the people effected by the eruption and said the government would immediately make every effort to help the victims. Officials said the death toll rose to 27 Wednesday afternoon and that more than 5,400 villagers were evacuated. Many of the victims were farmers trapped in their fields and some elderly villagers who had been waiting by the roadside for rescue trucks. Merapi has been increasingly active since March and volcanologists have warned residents living on the Merapi's slopes to remain alert and to immediately flee their homes should it erupt. Residents did not expect Tuesday's eruption which occurred in the morning, catching residents in their fields. Many of the missing people are water supply and dam construction project workers. An official of the natural disasters office in Sleman, said Wednesday morning that 118 people were still in three public hospitals suffering from serious burns. "We are still expecting that the death toll will increase as many of those hospitalized are in critical condition," the official said. "In addition...the fate of those 30 unaccounted for," is still unknown he said. "The search for the missing people is still not possible because the location is considered too dangerous," he said. "The operation became too risky as the volcanic materials are still hot." Turgo, which is near the Kaliurang tourist area, has been closed, the officials said. Hundreds of homes have collapsed and thousands of cattle were buried by hot ash. Merapi, is one of 65 Indonesian volcanoes listed as dangerous. Its last major eruption was in 1976, when it killed 28 people and rendered 1,176 people homeless.