Jakarta. An official says the number of people killed by Mount Merapi’s recent eruptions has risen to 324.
Syamsul Maarif, head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said on Wednesday that the death toll from the eruptions, which began on Oct. 26, rose after a number of victims succumbed to severe burns and more bodies were found on the volcano’s slopes.
Meanwhile, Yogyakarta’s Disaster Management Agency said there were now about 500 reported cases of eruption survivors in Sleman district suffering from minor to severe psychological problems, and about 300 cases in Magelang.
“Those numbers are likely to rise as we are still collecting data from the field,” said Bondan Agus Suryanto, head of the agency.
There are now 21 psychologists and five psychiatrists in Sleman and Magelang to respond to the situation.
Magelang’s district administration has decided to extend the emergency period until Dec. 9 because Merapi’s alert status remains at the highest level.
“There is still the possibility that some areas in Magelang will be impacted by volcanic debris,” said Heri Prawoto, the head of the district’s Disaster Management Office.
The emergency period, in which relief operations are the main focus, was originally scheduled to end on Nov. 25.
Djoko Tjahyono, the head of Magelang’s Assets Management Office, said that they had asked for an additional Rp 1 billion ($112,000) from the provincial government for continued assistance operations.
“We currently only have enough money to keep operating for the next five days,” he said.
While people are still living in evacuation camps, the district administration must continue to provide for their daily necessities, he said.
The BNPB said it would begin reconstruction and rehabilitation programs for the victims after the emergency period ended.