JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia’s Mount Merapi erupted with renewed strength on Wednesday, the fourth eruption in eight days, forcing authorities to move refugee shelters further away from the volcano, a vulcanology official said.
The volcano, near Yogyakarta on Java island, spewed clouds of ash and gas 5 km (3 miles) into the sky for more than an hour on Wednesday, its biggest eruption so far in the past 10 days. The latest series of eruptions began last Tuesday.
“This is the first time that the eruption has continued for more than an hour, so I decided to move the shelters to 15 km away from the summit from 10 km away previously,” Surono, head of Indonesia’s vulcanology agency, told Metro TV.
He added the energy from Wednesday’s eruption was three times greater than that of the first eruption last week.
“We have moved the shelters 15 km away, but I hope the hot clouds will not reach 10 km from the crater,” Surono said.
At least 38 people were killed when the volcano first erupted last week, and about 70,000 people fled to shelters.
There was no word on any casualties from Wednesday’s eruption, as most villagers had already evacuated the area.
Reporting by Telly Nathalia; Editing by Andrew Marshall