TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Head of the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG), Andini, on Monday said the agency had already issued an early warning four days prior to the Mount Semeru eruption on Saturday, December 4.
“On December 1 [the PVMBG] had sent warnings via Whatsapp group on incandescent lava at Semeru’s slope. The group message has local administrations, regional disaster mitigation agencies (BPBD), volunteers, and volcanic mountain observers,” Andini wrote in a text message to Tempo on Monday.
Andini even said mountain observers on December 2 had warned people not to enter nearby areas and expect lava from Semeru’s crater.
The PVMBG’s early warning is based on the monitoring devices that visually monitor volcanic activities, which is also installed across 69 locations where active volcanic mountains exist.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) data center and information acting-head Abdul Muhari on Sunday evening announced the death toll caused by the Mount Semeru eruption in East Java had increased to 14.
“The total death toll had increased from the 13 deaths in the previous press release,” said Muhari in Sunday’s press conference.
Mount Semeru erupted a large volume of hot clouds on Saturday, December 4, which government sources estimated reached 11 kilometers upwards. The sudden eruption and the sheer amount of volcanic ash released to the skies blocked sunlight in the area which was suddenly consumed in darkness within minutes.
The BNPB report reveals that the eruption injured 56 people and affected 5,205 lives in the volcanic mountain’s vicinity. It is estimated that 1,300 people are spread in refugee camps.