Indonesia’s Slow-Motion Disaster

After two weeks of volcanic eruptions, life for people living near Indonesia’s Mount Merapi remains dangerous and difficult. The death toll from the eruptions has surpassed 200, and more than a quarter of a million people have evacuated their homes. While vulcanologists believe the eruption is dying down, they can’t guarantee it won’t flare up again.

On the south side of Merapi, Indonesian army commandos lead a search-and-rescue mission. In the distance, smoke and gray ash billow from Merapi’s crater high into the sky. Heat shimmers up from the scorched earth. A burnt and decaying stench hangs in the air.

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