Following the explosion of Mt. Merapi in Central Java on Tuesday, October 26, 2010, government and officials in Central Java have wasted no time in issuing statement to assure the public that Yogyakarta remains a safe destination for international tourists.
One hour's flight from Bali or Jakarta, international and domestic flights continued to operate without interruption into Yogyakarta's Adi Sucipto Airport until Saturday, October 30th, when volcanic dust deposited on the runway necessitated a temporary closure of the airport while clean up crew cleared away material. Dust debris caused by the volcano's explosion also layed a fine film of ash over Yogyakarta's main thoroughfare of Jalan Malioboro.
The ash from the still very active volcano is falling largely in a pattern to the south and southwest of Merapi, with dust deposits reported as far away as Ciamis, West Java.
Merapi volcano is located 30 kilometers from Yogyakarta. The eruptions caused devastation to areas with a 7 kilometers radius of the mountain's peak. Government officials had ordered the evacuation of the affected areas prior to the eruption, but some residents stubbornly clung to mystical beliefs that they somoehow enjoyed special protection from nature's wrath. As a result, a family of 15 people, including the famous mystical "Mountain Guard" Mbah Marijan, sheltering just 4 kilometers from the mountain's peak, were killed when Merapi erupted.
While volcanic dust was deposited on the Borobudur Temple, standing 30 kilometers form Merapi, the World Heritage site was undamaged and remains open to the public. Caretakers advise that the dust deposited on the monument has now been cleared away.
While visits to villages in the foothill of the volcano are not permitted while the mountain remain in its current highly active state, the Royal City of Yogyakarta is, for the most part, operating normally with all flights, hotels, restaurants, banks, money changers and tourist attractions said to be doing "business as usual."
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