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Merapi volcano (Indonesia), activity update: two people killed by pyroclastic flows, eruption intensifying

za, 17 jun 2006, 11:22

The eruption of Merapi is increasing in intensity and has claimed the first deaths: Two people were killed on Wednesday 14 June, 2006, by a particularly strong pyroclastic flow that reached the area, travelling almost 7 km from the summit. The two men managed to run into a shelter at the village of Kaliadem, east of Kinahrejo near Bebeng, on the SE flank of the volcano, but were trapped inside because flow covered the shelter with about 2 meters of hot deposits. Although they survived for a while, the heat of the deposits effectively baked them to death. Recue workers tried for over 24 hours to free them, interrupted only when new pyroclastic flows were theatening to reach the area again. When the shelter was dug out free, they could only find the dead bodies. The flow also damaged some buildings, which is the first time, the eruption affected structures and villages as well.

The following is the activity summary from the Volcano Observatory:
Visual observation o­n 14 June 2006: a gas and steam plume rises from the summit to about 500 m height. Kaliurang observatory reported a pyroclastic flow event at 08.14 WIB. It slided toward the head of K.Gendol. Continuous pyroclastic flow occurred afterwards, within 11.33 - 15.15 WIB toward K.Gendol, reaching 7 km from the summit. Ash fell at all observatories at the evening which has maximum thickness of 5 mm at Desa Krinjing, Dukun Regency, Magelang.
O­n 14 June 2006, seismic recording noted 89 events of multiphase eqs, 371 events of avalanche eqs, 61 events of pyroclastic flow, and 2 events of tectonic eqs.

Visual observation o­n 15 June 2006 (00.00-18.00 WIB): the weather around the summit was clear o­n the morning and getting foggy o­n the day. White-thin solfatara gas emitted moderately as 900 m from the summit. It was observed from Babadan observatory. Pyroclastic flow occurred 27 times toward K.Gendol with maximum distance of 4.5 km from the summit. Seismic record marked 100 events of multiphase eqs, 260 events of avalanche eqs, 2 events of shallow volcanic eqs (VTB), 27 events of pyroclastic flow, and 6 events of tectonic eqs.
Areas along 300 m from the side of K.Krasak/Bebeng, K.Bedog, K.Boyong and K.Gendol, and within radius of 8 km from the summit is forbidded for any activities.

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