Nearly 200 people have so far been killed by Merapi’s clouds of super-heated gas and debris that cascaded down its slopes.
Officials say that more than 350,000 people have been forced to evacuate and huddle in cramped emergency shelters.
Vulcanologists told reporters they have no idea how much longer the mountain will continue to erupt.
They say that in addition to ash from ongoing eruptions, Merapi is also emitting poisonous gas that has traveled at least 8 miles from the mountain’s peak.
Some personnel monitoring the eruption say they ran as fast as they could away from the mountain once they smelled an unpleasant odor around their post.
They told the ANTARA news service they also came across the dead bodies of cats, chickens and even flies they believe were killed by the gas.
Photo: Danang Wahyu Nugroho - Flickr