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November 18, 2010. Gunung Kidul (KATAKAMI / ANTARA) – A total of 1,625 evacuees of Mt Merapi have started leaving their shelters in Gunung Kidul regency, Yogyakarta, returning to their villages.
“The 1,625 evacuees started leaving their shelters on Sunday. They were part of the 11,714 refugees sheltering outside the main command post of the Gunung Kidul regency administration, known as Rest Area Bunder,” Gunung Kidul regency administration spokesman Azis Shaleh said on the sidelines of monitoring the condition of the refugees at the shelters in Bunder, Playen, Gunung Kidul, Wednesday.
He said that the number of evacuees at the main command post at Rest Area Bunder had even increased from 730 to 747.
Azis did not know for sure what exactly made the refugees to return to their homes. Maybe they now felt safe following the announcement that the danger zone had been reduced, and many others wished to observe the Day of Sacrifice at their hometowns, he said.
He added that the home-going evacuees had already asked for permission from their coordinator or volunteers at the refugee command posts in each subdistrict.
One of the refugees of Cangkringan, Tugiman, said he preferred to stay at the Bunder refugees command post until an official statement on the safety of status of Mt Merapi.
“We have been moving several times from one place to other refugee camps so that we preferred to stay put until the government issued an official announcement on the safe status of Mr Merapi, and allow us to return to hour homes,” he said. (*)