Via The Jakarta Post: Java rebounds from eruption. Excerpt:
Life is returning to normal for those living close to Mount Kelud in East Java after the volcano spewed ash across parts of Java on Thursday.
Purwandi, a resident of Kediri, East Java, whose house was located some 10 kilometers from the volcano, was busy washing his motorbike after cleaning his house of volcanic materials.
“I am not afraid of returning home because, based on past experiences as told by the elders, the volcano only erupted once. It erupted and that’s it,” he told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
Purwandi was just one of many residents who chose to return home, ignoring the government’s warnings.
“I don’t want to stay at the evacuation shelter. There are too many people there. Some evacuees told me that there was no food or water at the shelter,” said Misiem, Purwandi’s wife, while cooking in her kitchen.
Lumadi, another resident, was also busy drying corn harvested one day before Mt. Kelud erupted.
Mt. Kelud erupted on Thursday at about 9:30 p.m. local time, just a few minutes after the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) declared a high-alert status.
Thick volcanic ash showered cities in Yogyakarta, Central Java and West Java, which are situated hundreds of kilometers from the volcano, sending residents into a panic and forcing authorities to close several airports. At least seven lives were lost as a result of the disaster, according to Mursyidah, of the Malang Health Agency.
Gede Suantika of the PVMBG said that the volcano would not erupt again in the near future, but he called on people to avoid conducting activities in the danger zone within a 10-kilometer radius of the volcano.
On Saturday, authorities and residents in Yogyakarta and a number of cities in Central Java also began cleaning up thick layers of volcanic ash.
In Yogyakarta, people were busy clearing roads and other public places in their neighborhoods by spraying the ash away with water. Some even rented diesel pumps to do so.
They did not complain, although their efforts at times seemed futile as the wind and passing vehicles made the ash fly around and create a mess in other locations.
Many have expressed the hope that rain would fall over Yogyakarta, but the Yogyakarta Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said that rain would only fall over the region on Feb. 20.
Yogyakarta Governor Hamengkubuwono X declared emergency status in the province as of Friday, due to thick layers of ash on the ground and a high content of ash in the air.
In Bantul, dozens of people have been admitted to hospitals, either due to traffic accidents resulting from limited visibility on the roads or because of respiratory disorders.