Mt. Merapi Threatens to Erupt in Java, Indonesia

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Evacuation of villagers from the slopes of Mount Merapi in Indonesia is underway amid fears of an eruption. The volcano has become more active since an earthquake four years ago.

This is one of the camps set up to house thousands of Indonesian villagers facing the prospect of having to leave their homes on the slopes of Mount Merapi.

The alert level is at maximum after the volcano began to spew hot clouds that authorities fear could herald an eruption.

Eleven thousand people are being evacuated near Yogyakarta on the island of Java.

[Asmo Wiyono, Villager]: (Javanese)
"I've been here since yesterday. My neighbors took refuge and I followed them."

Village leaders say some residents are staying in their homes but others, particularly those considered vulnerable, are having to leave.

[Henry, Deputy Chief, Cangkringan Village]: (Bahasa Indonesia)
"We forced people living very close to the volcano to stay here in the shelter, especially elderly people, children, women, pregnant women, disabled people and those who are sick. From two villages very close to the volcano, there are 93 staying in the barracks."

Merapi last erupted in 1994, when 70 people were killed, but has become more active since an earthquake in May 2006.

In 2010 those who live on its slopes can only watch and wait to find out the fate of their homes and villages.

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