Boy T Harjanto
Mount Merapi’s volcanic activity has intensified in recent days as its phreatic eruptions spew ash. The Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center (BPPTKG) raised the status from normal to caution, the third highest level, on Monday, May 21, 2018 at 11 p.m.
The Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center recorded four phreatic eruptions since Monday morning. The volcanic activity started on Monday morning around 1:25 a.m. when a phreatic eruption occurred lasting 19 minutes, spewing volcanic ash as high as 700 meters into the sky.
Six hours later at 9:38 a.m. another phreatic eruption occurred, spewing volcanic ash that reached up to 1,200 meters high.
Another one occurred around 5:50 p.m. lasting three minutes. The fourth one began at 1:47 a.m. on Tuesday morning for three minutes and reached 3,500 meters. There have been 10 phreatic eruptions at Merapi since 2010.
Villagers in the radius of three kilometers from Merapi’s peak should leave the area. Any activity around the crater, including hiking, must be avoided except for volcanic investigation.
Volcanic ash fell on villages in Cangkringan district, Pakem district and Ngemplak district in Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, and also in Kemalang district in Klaten regency, Central Java.
More than 600 villagers have left their homes to the nearest shelters. The number of displaced persons is likely to increase. The Boyolali Disaster Mitigation Agency has distributed humanitarian aid.
Authorities have called on villagers to remain calm and ignore fake news on Mount Merapi’s eruptions, while pledging to continue to support displaced persons. [yan]