Merapi Update #2 for 11/4/2010 - Pyroclastic flows now reaching 15 km from the volcano

I've been trying to update on the evolving situation at Merapi all day, but the news is just too fast and too tragic to keep up. I'll try to keep updating here as I find out more, but I can only hope that the situations doesn't get much worse for the people around Merapi.

Here is a summary of what I've read right now.

  • There has been a big new eruption at Merapi, topping out at 16 km / 55,000 feet according to the Darwin VAAC {h/t to MRK}.
  • At least 9 more people have died after a pyroclastic flow reached as far as 15 km from the volcano to the village of Bronggang. This brings the death toll to at least 56 people. It is unclear to me from any of these reports if the flows are coming from dome collapse (most likely) or ash column collapse (less likely). Remember, earlier today it was reported that a new dome had formed at the crater.
  • Evacuations have now reached over 90,000 people, stretching the refugee system in Indonesia to its limits. Evacuees have been told to move from the initial refugee camps set up 20 km from the volcano.
  • Officials for the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency are now calling this the worst eruption of Merapi since 1872 (at least).
  • However, even with all this, flights have resumed in and out of Yogjakarta, which is within 40 km of the volcano.
  • Top left: Merapi seen erupting on November 4, 2010 from the town of Klanten.

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