Indonesia downgrades alert for most of Merapi's slopes
Indonesian scientists have downgraded the alert status of Mount Merapi from its highest level on all but the volcano's southern slopes, a scientist said Monday.
"On the southern slope, the alert status remains code red, but on other slopes it's been lowered one level," said Subandrio, the head of the volcanology office in Yogyakarta, the main city south of Merapi. He said the volcano's activity had continued to decrease in recent days. Merapi has been on its top alert for most of the time since May 13, meaning scientists feared an imminent eruption. Two people were killed last month when they were trapped in an emergency bunker under debris carried by searing clouds of volcanic gas. Merapi's increased activity forced the evacuation of 15,000 villagers, but most of them have now returned home. The volcano's deadliest eruption was in 1930 when more than 1,300 people were killed.