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Published: Saturday November 20, 2010 MYT 1:50:00 PM

Thousands return to homes on Indonesian volcano

MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia (AP): Thousands of villagers have returned to their homes on the slopes of Indonesia's deadly volcano as it has become less active in recent days.

The National Disaster Management Agency says that almost half of nearly 400,000 evacuees have now returned home after the government on Friday reduced the official "danger zone" from 12 miles (20 kilometres) from the crater to six miles (10 kilometres).

Disaster official Muhammad Anshori said Saturday 270,000 refugees are still in emergency camps as their houses were destroyed or they lack clean water and food.

The disaster agency said the death toll from the volcano's eruptions since Oct. 26 has risen to 283, after some victims died of their burns injuries and more bodies were recovered under debris.

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