Merapi Eruptions Begin to Ease

Indonesian authorities say activity at Mount Merapi in Central Java appears to be subsiding after almost three weeks of deadly eruptions.

Although they have maintained the highest level of alert, the scientists have gradually begun reducing the exclusion zone around the peak.

The 20-kilometre no-go area has been reduced to 10 kilometres in some districts but will remain in force in the Sleman district, which is most at risk from deadly pyroclastic flows of ash, gas and rocks.

The government’s senior vulcanologist, Dr Sukyar, said instruments indicated a significant reduction in energy levels and emissions in recent days.

So far 242 people have been killed since Mount Merapi began erupting.

More than 400,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and hundreds are in hospitals with burns, and breathing difficulties caused by the clouds of burning ash.

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