MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia (AP) -- Indonesia warned Monday that its most volatile volcano could erupt at any time, prompting calls for the evacuation of thousands of villagers living on the mountain's slopes.
Mount Merapi has seen increased volcanic activity over the past week and officials have raised the alert level for the 9,737-foot (2,968-meter) -high mountain to the most urgent level, said government volcanologist Surono, who uses only one name.
The mountain last erupted in 2006, when it sent an avalanche of blistering gases and rock fragments racing down the mountain that killed two people. A similar eruption in 1994 killed 60 people, while 1,300 people died in an eruption in 1930.
"Officials have predicted that if it erupts, magma would flow to the southern side," said Sri Purnomo, the head of Sleman district on Java island, where Mount Merapi is located.
He said officials were warning some 11,400 villagers living on the mountain's southern slope to prepare for "urgent evacuation." About 40,000 people live close to the mountain.