Indonesia: Mount Merapi spews lava amid increasing volcanic activity

The majestic Mount Merapi taken from Ketep, Central Java on Nov 8. The Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Centre (BPPTKG) increased the alert status for Mt. Merapi on Nov 5, predicting the volcanic activity might soon lead to an eruption. - The Jakarta Post/Asian News Network

JAKARTA, Nov 9 (The Jakarta Post/ANN): Mount Merapi in Magelang, Central Java has spewed lava amid increased volcanic activity over the past week, according to the Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center (BPPTKG). BPPTKG head Hanik Humaida said the eruption, which reached 3,000m-high, was recorded on Sunday (Nov 8) between 12 and 6pm.

She called on locals in residential areas around the renowned volcano, such as in Yogyakarta and Central Java, to remain calm, yet vigilant in anticipation of any further volcanic activities from Indonesia’s most active volcano.

“These eruptions are usual occurrences, especially amid increased activities at Mt. Merapi, ” Hanik said as quoted by

Eruptions of lava and hot clouds, as well as other volcanic materials are likely to occur in the coming days, she further said. The center predicted last week that volcanic material and hot ash clouds could spew as far as 5 kilometres. Several villages in Sleman in Yogyakarta and Magelang, Boyolali and Klaten in Central Java are considered most vulnerable to Mount Merapi’s volcanic activities.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Raditya Jati said in a statement on Saturday that his office had coordinated with regional disaster mitigation agencies in areas closest to Mt. Merapi to set up evacuation procedures in the event of a major eruption.

The mitigation agency in Boyolali has prepared evacuation posts, soup kitchens and trucks to quickly move local villagers away from danger.

BNPB head Doni Monardo, who also helms the national COVID-19 task force, urged regional administrations to immediately reach out to his office or local disaster mitigation agencies for additional support to bolster emergency measures in anticipating future eruptions. “If evacuation centers are yet to be completed, please coordinate with the BNPB and mitigation agency deputies for emergency measures to ensure that health protocols are still applied, ” Doni said.

Authorities increased the alert status for Mt. Merapi on Thursday following increasing volcanic activity predicted to soon lead to a major eruption, which could affect nearby residential areas in Yogyakarta and Central Java. The volcano's status has been increased to siaga (watch), or level three of the country's four-tiered alert system, from level two, waspada (advisory) previously.

The BPPTKG urged for a halt to mining activities in rivers located within disaster-prone area, or areas within a 3 km radius of the volcano's peak -- and called for tourism activities in the area, including hiking to the top of Mt. Merapi, to be suspended.

Mt. Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia. A major eruption in 2010 left more than 300 people dead and forced almost 400,000 people to take refuge.

The volcano has since continued rumbling, spewing hot ash and volcanic material in a series of eruptions over the past decade. - The Jakarta Post/Asian News Network

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