Indonesia’s Mount Merapi erupted on Thursday for the second time in a week, blasting vast plumes of ash into the sky, as the death toll from the initial eruption and a tsunami that hit remote western islands reached 377.
There were no immediate reports of new casualties after Merapi’s second eruption. More than 40,000 people had fled or been evacuated from Merapi’s slopes earlier in the week, but many started to return after the volcano appeared to become calmer.
Officials said the death toll from a tsunami that hit the remote western Mentawai islands on Monday had reached at least 343. The tsunami was triggered on Monday by a 7.5 magnitude quake. A day later, Mount Merapi on the outskirts of Yogyakarta city on Java island erupted, killing at least 34.
“The president was very moved when he met the victims of the tsunami and earthquake,” President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s spokesman told Reuters. “He has issued instructions for all aid to continue to flow in without disruption.”
Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Mount Merapi killed 1,300 people in 1930.