Indonesia's Java digs out after volcanic ash deluge

Feb. 15, 2014 at 12:16 PM

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Some airports reopened Saturday in parts of Indonesia that were blanketed by ash from a volcanic eruption blamed for at least six deaths.

Mount Kelud in East Java erupted Friday and covered much of the island with ash, shutting down transportation, forcing thousands of people into shelters and disrupting tourism business.

Java remained on high alert Saturday but Indonesian authorities said the worst appeared to be over, the BBC said.

Residents of Yogyakarta set about clearing ash from roofs and roadways. Airport crews swept their runways clear so flights could resume.

The death toll from the eruption stood at six Saturday. The fatalities were due to respiratory distress or the collapse of roofs under the weight of the accumulated ash.

The Jakarta Globe said resort operators were hoping the February rainy season would resume soon and wash the lingering dust out of the air.

"It's bad for our business because many guests have canceled," one hotel employee told the Globe. "Normally we have 80 people staying here. Now we have five to 10."

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