Yogyakarta: Rescuers in Indonesia voiced fears Tuesday for missing children lost in the chaos of a mass exodus after a series of killer eruptions from the nation`s most dangerous volcano.
About 280,000 people are living in cramped temporary
shelters after being ordered to evacuate from a 20-kilometre
"danger zone" around Mount Merapi, which has been spewing ash
and heat clouds since late October.
"We`re concerned about children who are yet to be united
with their parents," said Makbul Mubarak, a coordinator for
volunteers who are trying to reunite separated families.
He said Friday`s powerful eruption, the biggest since the
1870s, had caused many residents to flee the area on the
island of Java in panic, leaving at least 1,000 people
desperately hunting for their loved ones.
A total of 151 people have lost their lives since Mount
Merapi began erupting again on October 26, with bodies being
pulled from the sludge that incinerated villages on Friday.
Government volcanologist Surono said the volcano, whose
name means "Mountain of Fire," was still belching heat clouds
today but not as intensely as on previous days.
"The intensity of the eruption has decreased since
yesterday but the volcano`s activity is still high, its status
is still alert," he said.
Disaster management agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho
denied rumours that large numbers of people were fleeing
Central Java`s historic provincial capital Yogyakarta, which
lies 26 kms south of the volcano.
"We haven`t seen a large number of people fleeing the
city of Yogyakarta so far," he said.
The Indonesian archipelago has dozens of active volcanoes
and straddles major tectonic fault lines between the Pacific
and Indian oceans.
Sonepat: A shoe factory was gutted when a
fire broke out in its premises along the National Highway near
Nathupur village, about 25 km from here, police said on Tuesday.
No one was, however, injured in the incident.
Eight fire tenders from Sonepat, Panipat and
Bahadurgarh took three hours to control the blaze, they said.
At least four machines and a large quantity of scrap
worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed in the fire which broke
out yesterday, police said.