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Officials: Island's volcanoes more active

JAKARTA, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Volcanic observers report increased activity of Mount Egon on an island east of Java, Indonesia, as the country's Mount Merapi spewed more gas and ash Thursday.

Disaster officials also announced five more people have died from injuries sustained from the multiple eruptions of Mount Merapi, CNN reported.

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During the past few days, the Mount Egon observation post recorded between five and 10 volcanic earthquakes daily around the mountain, Antara News reported, indicating more activity from the volcano in the southeastern part of the Indonesian island of Flores.

"Since Wednesday, Mount Egon has been shrouded by thick mist originating in its crater," Suryanto, the head of an observation post, said Thursday. "We have asked local people not to come too close to the mountain's crater."

Two other mountains in East Nusa Tenggara -- Mount Rokatenda on Palue island and Mount Lewotobi in the East Flores district -- also were reported showing increased activity, Antara said.

The latest plume from Mount Merapi has emerged almost continuously since Wednesday, the Indonesian Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Disaster Agency said.

Mount Merapi's eruptions have killed at least 44 people and injured dozens more since it began erupting on Oct. 26, CNN said. Nearly 75,000 people have been evacuated, Indonesia's disaster agency reported.

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Volcanic ash emitted by Mount Merapi spread to Tasikmalaya on West Java, Thursday, officials said. While not thick, the ash covered ponds and trees of villages.

"At first the residents did not notice the kind of ash. However, they started to figure it out as a lot of ash (was) covering the pools' surface," one resident told Antara.

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