Asia-Pacific

Indonesian volcano: Your stories of Mount Merapi

Villagers in Indonesia are trying to return to their homes on the slopes of a volatile volcano after an eruption.

Mount Merapi in Java began spewing molten rock, heat clouds and ash into surrounding area on Tuesday.

Located on the outskirts of the city of Yogyakarta, the volcano regularly causes small eruptions in the area.

Indonesians who live near the volcano have been speaking to BBC Indonesia, here are their stories.

Eno, South Merapi

My home is about 20km from Mount Merapi. When the volcano erupted on Tuesday I was still at my wife's house which is less than 15km away.

I drove my grandmother, who lives about 10-15km from the danger zone, to southern Yogyakarta.

There were a lot of people trying to get out, but actually they didn't know the volcano was erupting. I got the information from the TV and the internet.

I could feel the thick dust. It rained during the evacuation and when it stopped ash and dust started to cover Yogyakarta and other nearby areas.

People were worried but they have a strong tradition and belief, particularly in the volcano's spiritual gatekeeper, Mbah Maridjan. They are bound to the Javanese tradition so they obey their spiritual leader.

People also stayed put as they were afraid their possessions would be taken by others, including their houses and land.

Even now there are still people who have refused to leave because they have been in worse positions before, when the volcano erupted and produced even more ash, dust and lava.

Indra Yudanto, Yogyakarta

I live in Yogyakarta and I study here too. Fortunately my house is outside the exclusion zone, but I can clearly see Merapi when the weather is good.

On Wednesday afternoon, I saw the smoke of Merapi after the eruption. The peak of Merapi is still covered by a thick cloud.

As far as I know the condition of the refugees is not good. Most of them are having problems breathing because of the ash in the rain.

The main effect for us here is that the temperature is hotter than usual. The government has advised us to keep praying, to stay calm and to remain watchful of the volcano, which may erupt again.

Our local media is reporting that no-one has survived in the range of 4km from the top of Merapi. They say that everyone there has died, and buildings have been destroyed.

Muhammad Ayyub, Yogyakarta

I work at the Emergency Operation Centre in Yogyakarta and I am collecting important data and information about the refugees of the volcanic eruption.

We are able to provide basic needs, although obviously the refugees are uncomfortable as it is raining.

We are still trying to provide enough clean water to Sleman bringing it from Yogyakarta. Sleman is where some villagers have moved to, after leaving their own homes.

However, they still lack food, especially for infants. They also need masks and blankets.

People are taking shelter inside a number of buildings there, such as the school and city council.

Accounts translated by the BBC's Indonesian service.

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