The Jakarta Post
The volcanic discharge of Mount Anak Krakatau, which usually affects Cilegon in Banten and Kalianda in southern Lampung, has now reached the city center of Bandar Lampung, the capital of Lampung province, located around 75 kilometers from the mountain itself.
Based on observations by The Jakarta Post, the whole area of Bandar Lampung was covered in volcanic ash. Despite a thin layer, the ash was evenly distributed across the city. The volcanic ash also reached parts of Pesawaran and Pringsewu regencies.
The head of the Information and Observation division at Lampung Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency (BMKG), Nurhuda, said the volcanic ash was carried by winds from the southeast.
“High wind velocity has likely carried the ash from the southeast to reach as far as Bandar Lampung. We urge residents in the area to wear masks when they go outdoors, especially when they are riding motorcycles,” said Nurhuda.
However, as of midday on Monday, many residents in Bandar Lampung were not heeding the BMKG’s warning.
A resident in Rajabasa, Bandar Lampung, Ahmad Zein, said he only realized that the area was covered by the ash from Mt. Anak Krakatau when he was riding his motorcycle.
“My helmet has no visor so my eyes caught the dust. There was a lot of dust, eventually. As we arrived home, we realized that our garden was filled with black ash resembling exhaust soot, which had covered the the leaves, roof and porch,” said Zein.
Another resident, Rohayati, said this situation had never occurred previously.
“For more than 20 years I’ve lived in Bandar Lampung and this is the first time ash from Mt. Anak Krakatau has reached this area. The roof of our house and plants are covered in ash,” she added.
The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency (PVMBG) has yet to upgrade Mt. Anak Krakatau’s alert status to a higher level despite the increase in seismic and molten lava levels in the Sunda Strait, as of Sunday.
Agency head Surono said that Mt. Anak Krakatau had been emitting molten lava and strombolian eruptions as of midday on Sunday. The lava spewed at a height of between 200 and 300 meters from its peak at midday on Monday.
Head of the Anak Krakatau Observation Post in Rajabasa, South Lampung, Andi Suardi, said that Anak Krakatau’s magmatic activities were unpredictable.
“However, its status has not been upgraded to that of alert. Despite that, we are still not allowing tourists and fishermen to approach the volcano within 2 kilometers of its radius,” he said.
According to Andi, Mt. Anak Krakatau emits 10 toxic gases during its eruption process, such as carbon doixide, which is fatal for humans.
“Anyone who inhales the gas may experience breathing difficulties and lose consciousness. It may even lead to death,” he said.
In West Java, Mount Tangkuban Parahu nature tourism park was closed on Monday due to a rise in volcanic activity.
“We’re not allowing vendors and visitors to go up to the crater at present,” said West Java Disaster Mitigation Agency head Sigit Udjwalaprana in Bandung on Monday.
Earlier, the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency raised the status of Mt. Tangkuban Parahu from normal-active, or level 1, to alert, or level 2, on Aug. 23. “The people should be aware of a 1.5-km radius from the crater,” said Surono.
The 2,048-meter volcano was last closed in April, 2005, on the grounds of increasing volcanic activities.