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October 29, 2010 (KATAKAMI / CNN) — Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano erupted again Friday, sending a plume about 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) above the mountaintop, an extreme weather chaser said.
Ash drifted to the south after the eruption about 10 a.m. local time, weather chaser James Reynolds said.
Residents started streaming down the mountain, heading for safer ground. Some were being evacuated after having already returned home following eruptions earlier in the week, observers from the Volcanology Agency near Merapi said.
No injuries or deaths were immediately reported Friday.
The volcano killed at least 32 people when it exploded earlier in the week, medical officials said.
Rescue and recovery efforts continue to unfold, with the Indonesian government scrambling to help tens of thousands of residents displaced by the eruption.
Mount Merapi, which looms on the horizon north of the major city of Yogyakarta, is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes and lies in one of the world’s most densely populated areas. The volcano has a summit elevation of nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 meters).
Hundreds of displaced residents have crammed a small government building in Yogyakarta. Many had fled with only the clothes on their backs.
Some residents refused to flee, holding out to watch over their crops and livestock. Some residents awaited word from the traditional gatekeeper of Mount Merapi. But Maradjin, the gatekeeper, fell victim to the volcano as well.
He was buried Thursday. He died in his 80s, after being appointed about two decades ago by the last Sultan of Java.
Hundreds paid their respects as Maradjin was buried in the volcano’s shadow, along with two other people who died with him.
The revered elder had refused to leave the mountain, even as it rumbled.
Maradjin, whose father was gatekeeper before him, spent decades guarding the volcano and trying to appease its spirits with offerings.
“Merapi is a house of spirits, which also means a living mountain,” Maradjin told CNN in a 2006 interview. “When Merapi emits smoke, we have to be respectful.”