Merapi lights up the skies again

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The Independent Online

Indonesia's mount Merapi volcano erupted yesterday for the third time in a week, driving the number of refugees to almost 70,000.

The eruption forced a thick ash cloud nearly a mile into the air above Merapi, which sits on the outskirts of Yogyakarta city in Central Java, and caused panicked residents to flee villages on the slopes of the mountain.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said that 38 people have been killed and 69,533 evacuated since Merapi began erupting last week, while Indonesia's vulcanology agency warned that flights around Yogyakarta may be disrupted.

Scientists are also monitoring increased activity at Mount Anak Krakatau in the Sunda Strait and Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra, an official from the vulcanology agency said.

The tsunami killed 431 people and another 88 are still missing, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said.