17 Nov 2010

Villagers return to volcano villages

11:44 am on 17 November 2010

More than 30,000 people displaced by volcanic eruptions in Indonesia have started to return to their homes.

The BBC reports the exclusion zone around Mount Merapi has now been reduced to 10km in some places.

However, scientists warned that the volcano remained a severe threat. Another 17 bodies have been found buried in ash, bringing the death toll to 259.

"The eruption process is still ongoing but the intensity has reduced significantly. The status is still alert," vulcanologist Subandrio said.

A series of eruptions from Mount Merapi began 26 October.