Indonesia Villager Evacuation from Volcano

Villagers in Kediri, East Java, tended crops and livestock in the shadow of one of Indonesia's most deadly volcanoes on Thursday, despite government orders to evacuate because of fears it may soon erupt.

Mount Kelud, which sits on the densely populated island of Java, about 620 kilometers (385 miles) east of the capital, Jakarta, last erupted in 1990, killing dozens.

In 1919, a powerful explosion destroyed a hundred villages and killed 5,160 people.

Scientists said on Thursday (10/18) they feared the longer the volcano takes to erupt this time the more dangerous it may become.

Government volcanologists monitoring the volcano said the latest readings are much greater than those preceding the 1990 eruption.

On Tuesday night, some 116,000 people were ordered to evacuate villages in the area. But by Thursday, thousands of villagers had returned to their homes in high-risk areas, where they carried on their lives as usual.

Asri, a villager in Kediri, said she was ready to evacuate at any time, "but since the situation remains calm, I'll stay in my house. I already keep all my belongings at my relative's house. For now, I work in my field during the day and go to my relative's to sleep at night," Asri said.

In 1919, the pyroclastic and mud flows traveled 38 kilometers (24 miles) in less than an hour, devastating vast tracts of farmland.

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