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Indonesia

Merapi volcano to continue to erupt for months

Reuters/Andry Prasetyo

Indonesia’s Mount Merapi erupted Tuesday morning for the eight time, and is likely to continue doing so for months. Flights were cancelled in the area as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono planned to visit victims displaced from last week's eruption.

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Merapi is showing no sign of easing off after Tuesday morning’s eruptions, which sent ash clouds in the air up to 3.5 kilometres high, according to government volcanologists.

The government warned airlines to avoid certain areas, and Malaysia’s AirAsia and Singapore’s Silk Air cancelled flights to nearby Yogyakarta and Solo.

The government has raised alert levels on 21 other volcanos to the second-highest and third-highest degrees in the last two months because of increased activity.

After meeting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Jakarta on Tuesday morning, Yudhoyono was set to visit some of the thousands of villagers forced to move from the area by last week's eruption.

Yogyakarta governor Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X has ordered the construction of bamboo shacks so that married couples can have privacy and pursue their sex lives, local media report.

The governor criticised political parties for their high-profile participation in relief efforts. Ambulances flying party flags are sounding their sirens too loudly near victims, he said, even though, in many cases, they are not carrying patients who need emergency aid.

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