Date:         Fri, 25 Nov 1994 20:10:31 MST
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

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
    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.

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
   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).

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
  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
  "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