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Last Updated: Wednesday June 07 2006 13:14 GMT

Volcano area is evacuated again

Mount Merapi spews toxic gas on Tuesday
Thousands of people have been evacuated from Mount Merapi after the Indonesian volcano once more started pumping out hot ash, toxic gasses and lava.

Officials in Java used trucks and cars to move 11,000 people to safe areas in temporary shelters after volcanic activity increased on Tuesday.

Some experts think Merapi will erupt soon after a huge earthquake struck Java on 27 May, disturbing the volcano.

Last month villages near Merapi were evacuated after it started spewing ash.

But they were allowed to return to their homes after the volcano appeared to quieten down.

Toxic gas

On Tuesday witnesses said the cloud of toxic gas across Mount Merapi stretched for 2.4miles (4km), and lava had spread up to 4 miles (7km ) from the crater.

It's feared thousands of villages could be covered in ash and lava if Merapi does erupt.

Indonesia has at least 129 active volcanoes, including Mount Merapi which killed 60 people in 1994. In 1930 a further 1,300 people were killed when it erupted.

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