Endless Agony: Could Indonesian Volcano Keep Erupting For Months?

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REUTERS/Str Old

REUTERS/Str Old

Can’t Indonesia catch a break?

Showing no signs of stopping, the Indonesian government has warned that Mount Merapi, could continue erupting for months to come. The country, still struggled after last week’s earthquake-generated tsunami which devastated a remote chain of islands, has now been forced to ground a number of national and international airlines  because of the ash.

Erupting regularly, the toxic fumes and lava continue to travel down the 2,914-meter slope, 20 miles from the city of Yogyakarta. At least 38 people have been killed since Merapi began erupting last week, however no casualties have been reported from the volcano’s latest blast.

(See photos: Iceland’s massive volcano causes worldwide travel chaos)

Both the tsunami and volcano, unfolding in separate parts of the country,  have killed nearly 470 people and strained the government’s emergency response network. The aid effort for survivors of these tragedies are coming under growing criticism. Almost 70,000 survivors have been cramped into insanitary camps where they are likely to stay until conditions improve. “It could go on for weeks, even months,” vulcanologist Subandrio told reporters. ” Based on what we’ve seen in the last few days, we’re hoping there won’t be a massive explosion. It’s looking like we’re in for a marathon, not a sprint,” said Safari Dwiyono, who has observed the mountain for more than 15 years. (More at NewsFeed: Indonesian Volcan Spews Again, No New Damage.)

The government is also monitoring activity which has arisen in 21 additional volcanoes in Indonesia. Indonesia is located along major tectonic fault lines and is part of a region known as the “Ring of Fire” that circles the Pacific Ocean. We can only hope that another serial ash cloud is not on the horizon.

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