The South Lampung Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) is set to evacuate tens of thousands of residents in seven districts in the regency following continuous volcanic ash emissions from Mount Anak Krakatau over the past several days.
South Lampung BPBD head Abdul Shomad said his office had coordinated with the Lampung provincial administration, Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency and the Mount Anak Krakatau observation station in Hargopancuran village in South Lampung.
“We have taken anticipatory measures because ash continues to flow, while the seismograph used to monitor Mount Anak Krakatau could not provide data on its activities. This has caused fear among residents,” said Shomad on Monday.
The seven districts are Kalianda, Rajabasa, Katibung, Sidomulyo, Ketapang, Sragi and Palas.
Shomad added the South Lampung regency administration had mapped out tsunami-prone areas around the mountain, generally located along coastal areas facing the Sunda Strait, as one anticipatory measure.
“The coordination is aimed at ascertaining the height of the tidal wave in the event of a massive eruption,” said Shomad.
As of Monday, volcanic ash from Mount Anak Krakatau is still covering residential areas in parts of Banten province and South Lampung, while the observation posts in Hargopancuran, Rajabasa, South Lampung, and Pasauran, Banten, have not yet been able to monitor volcanic activities because equipment installed around the volcano is still out of order.
“Observation from the naked eye shows volcanic ash and smoke, spewing from Mount Anak Krakatau at around 600 meters high, is still moving toward the east, or Banten,” said Hargopancuran observation station head Andi Suhardi.
He said volcanic ash emitted by Anak Krakatau was dangerous and carried materials such as hot rocks and pebbles, reaching temperatures up to 600 degrees Celsius.
“We cannot monitor seismic activities because the seismometers are not working after their solar panels were covered with volcanic ash. We urge fishermen not to carry out activities around the volcano and advise vacationers not to approach the mountain up to 2 kilometers in radius,” he said.
The Volcanic and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) in Bandung, West Java, has set
Anak Krakatau’s status at alert level as of now.
Suhardi said his office had learned about the faulty monitoring devices installed on the slopes of Mt. Anak Krakatau on Dec. 27, thus failing to monitor volcanic activities from 6:30 p.m. until noon on Dec.
28, despite the fact that the volcano, located in the middle of the sea, was actively emitting volcanic materials.
Despite the faults, the volcanic activities can be monitored after every rainfall, thus indicating the monitoring devices installed around the volcano are covered by volcanic ash.
Suhardi said visual observation often meets technical problems because it relies on weather conditions as the presence of rain and fog can hamper visual observation.
Suhardi said he had reported the faulty devices to the regency administration and the PVMBG but they had not yet been fixed.
“The devices could not be fixed despite the current alert status. We recommend the devices be installed in new places,” he said.