Merapi continues to threaten Indonesia

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Merapi continues to threaten Indonesia

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Authorities in Indonesia refuse to downgrade the threat from Mount Merapi as the volcano continues to roar and rumble.

Situated on the densely populated island of Java, Merapi began spewing lava and hot clouds of volcanic ash more than two weeks ago, killing 191 people with hundreds of thousands more evacuated from the area.

Officials say volcanic activity has slowed, but intense tremors are still being detected and a 20 kilometre exclusion zone remains in place.

The country’s top vulcanologist, Dr Surono, is keeping a close eye on the volcano.

He said: “Although we see the activity has lessened, that doesn’t mean its slowing down, we are sticking with the status of high alert.”

One of the country’s most spectacular Buddhist temples, Borobudur, has closed due to the thick ash and plans are in place to cover the structure in plastic to prevent any further damage.

Air travel has been thrown into chaos with Cathay Pacific and Qantas stopping flights into Jakarta.

Merapi forced the early departure of US President Barack Obama amid fears the volcano could interfere with his plane Air Force One, leaving Obama stranded ahead of the G20 summit in South Korea.