Saturday, November 6, 2010

Indonesia Volcano Burns Whole Villages, Death Toll Climbs

At Fox News:

MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia -- The tiny hospital at the foot of Indonesia's most volatile volcano is struggling to cope with victims brought in after the mountain's most powerful eruption in a century. Some have clothes, blankets and even mattresses fused to their skin.

With few beds and the only burn unit it town, doctors have been forced to turn people away.

A surge of searing gas raced down the sides of Mount Merapi at highway speeds Friday, setting houses and trees ablaze and blackening the bodies of those caught in its path.

The number of people killed by Merapi since Oct. 26 soared to 118 after the nightmarish eruption and sent tens of thousands more into already crowded emergency shelters in the shadow of the volcano.

It continued to rumble and groan Saturday, spitting gray clouds of ash and gas high into the air.

"It's scary. ... The eruption just keeps going on," said Wajiman, who was sitting in a shelter near a girl reading a newspaper headlined "Merapi isn't finished yet."