TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Volcanic ash expelled by Mount Semeru in Lumajang District has reached Malang District, an official from the Regional Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD), Malang, confirmed on Saturday.
Acting head of the emergency and logistics department of the Malang BPBD, Sadono Irawan, said that the agency has received reports of volcanic ashfall in Malang District, which is located west of Mount Semeru.
"Though Malang District has not directly been affected by the eruption, the volcanic ash has reached several regions in the district," Irawan informed.
Volcanic ashfall has been reported in Ampelgading, Tirtoyudo, Wajak, and Bantur Sub-districts of Malang, he said.
Meanwhile, Ampelgading sub-district head Achmad Sovie confirmed that despite the volcanic ashfall in the region, the sub-district, located close to Lumajang district, is relatively safe as the eruption has not directly affected it.
"Regions in Malang are relatively safe from the Semeru eruption in Lumajang," Sovie said.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) informed that there was an increase in volcanic activity on the 3,676-meter Mount Semeru, which led to an eruption at 03:20 p.m. local time (UTC +7) on Saturday afternoon.
The agency confirmed that the eruption dispersed volcanic ash over several regions, and the pyroclastic flow was headed to Besuk Kobokan in Pronojiwo sub-district, Lumajang district.
The Mount Semeru volcano observation post in Gunung Sawur reported that pyroclastic flow from the volcano occurred from 02:47 p.m.
The observation post later informed that by 03:10 p.m., a clear visual of the volcanic ash reaching Besuk Kobokan had been obtained, with reports of a strong sulphuric odor.
Lumajang District Deputy Head Indah Amperawati instructed officers from Lumajang BPBD and the Social Office to set up evacuation centers and public kitchens for residents affected by the eruption and inspect affected areas to pick up residents confined to their homes by the thick volcanic ash.