Thousands of villagers returned to ash-covered homes along the slopes of Mount Merapi, Indonesia's most volatile volcano, today, after some areas appeared to be no longer at risk of another eruption.
The notoriously unpredictable volcano, in the centre of Java, roared back to life on 26 October, killing at least 259 people in a series of eruptions, according to the Indonesian national disaster management agency. Merapi was still rumbling and spewing searing ash and debristoday, said the state volcanologist Dr Surono, but activity has dropped sharply in recent days, The Guardian reports.
"Thousands of refugees have ignored the danger-zone warning and returned to their villages since Sunday," Sutopo Nugroho, director of disaster risk reduction from the national coordinating board, said on Monday.
"Most of them were confused, because the safe zone in some areas have been reduced. We are sending teams to persuade these people to come back and put signs at the danger area to help prevent any more casualties.", according to CNN International.
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