Indonesian volcano on the brink of eruption

Indonesia warned yesterday that its most volatile volcano could erupt at any time and started evacuating some of the thousands of villagers living on the mountain's slope.

Mount Merapi has seen increased volcanic activity over the past week and officials have raised the alert level for the 9,737ft (2,968m) mountain to the most urgent level, said a government volcanologist, known only as Surono.

The mountain last erupted in 2006, when it set off an avalanche of gases and rock fragments that killed two people.