Indonesian volcano toll rises to 304

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The number of fatality of Indonesia's volcano eruption has climbed to 304 with 467 others still suffering from serious injury, the intensity of volcanic activity has declined but seismic activity still high, officials said on Monday.

The most volatile Mount Merapi of over 2,968 meters high in Central Java had frequently erupted since Oct. 26, spewing hot ash containing sands and other materials by up to 3,000 meters high and spread to more than 40 kilometers away, and forcing over 330, 000 people to take shelters.

Official at the National Disaster Management and Mitigation Agency told Xinhua by phone from Jakarta that over one hundred thousands evacuees had returned homes, currently the number of people living in shelters remained at 202,484 from the peak at over 333,000.

Mount Merapi is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. The Southeast Asian country lies in a quake-prone zone called the Pacific Ring of Fire, and now has 129 active volcanoes.

The previous eruption of Mount Merapi in 2006 killed two people. A 1994 eruption claimed 60. A major eruption in 1930 killed more than 1,000 people.

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