Blast from Indonesia volcano raises deaths to 122

Searing gas avalanched down an Indonesian volcano with a thunderous roar, torching houses and trees and incinerating villagers as they fled Mount Merapi’s worst eruption in a century. Dozens of bodies found Friday raised the death toll to 122.

The injured – with clothes, blankets and even mattresses fused to their skin by the 1,400 degree Fahrenheit (750 degree Celsius) heat – were carried away on stretchers following the first big explosion just before midnight.

Use force to evacuate people, says President

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the use of force to evacuate people from disaster areas, citing many residents’ reluctance to leave Mount Merapi after the volcano erupted as the reason behind the high death toll.

Speaking at the opening of a plenary Cabinet meeting on Monday to discuss the series of disasters that recently hit Indonesia, Yudhoyono said the government had the right to forcibly evacuate people.

Indonesia volcano spews searing ash after lull

Villagers who returned home are in panic; unclear whether there are injuries, casualties

MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia — A deadly volcano in Indonesia spewed another searing cloud of ash down its slopes Sunday, prompting panic and chaos among thousands of villagers who had taken advantage of a lull in activity to rush home and check on their livestock.

The new blast came as rescuers hundreds of miles away finally were able to resume food deliveries and evacuate injured victims of a tsunami triggered by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake near a chain of remote islands off western Sumatra.

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