Evacuation posts set up around Mt. Kelud
Indra Harsaputra and Arya Dipa
The Jakarta Post
The government, through the Kediri Disaster Management and Displaced Persons Coordination Board (PBP) task force in East Java has prepared evacuation shelters following an increase in Mount Kelud's volcanic activity.
'We have set up 78 evacuation shelters in four districts, specifically Wates, Puncu, Kepung and Plosoklaten. Around 59,000 residents live around the volcano,' PBP head Let. Col. Heriyadi told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
'We have coordinated with local authorities to stop visitors and local residents from approaching the crater, located in Sugihwaras village, Ngancar district in Kediri regency,' he said.
Heriyadi added that residents living between a 5-kilometer and 15-km radius of the volcano would be housed at the Joyoboyo sports stadium.
'We have also prepared alternative shelters, the Canda Bhirawa stadium in Pare district, Kediri, as well as a nearby church.'
'We have prepared the fleet of trucks to transport residents and their livestock. The livestock, around 8,000 heads of cattle and goats, will be placed close to the evacuation tents,' he said.
On Monday, the Volcanology and Geological Mitigation Center (PVMBG) raised the status of Mount Kelud from waspada (alert, level II) to siaga (high alert, level III).
The PVMBG reported an increase in volcanic activity, such as deep and shallow volcanic tremors and increased water temperature in the crater lake.
The PVMBG has also warned residents not to conduct any activities within a 5-km radius of the volcano's crater. According to the local administration, the nearest settlements are located within a 7-km radius of the crater.
Despite the increased volcanic activity, the PVMBG has yet to call for an evacuation of the area.
Meanwhile, PVMBG head M. Hendrasto has deployed more officers to help mitigation efforts following the increased volcanic activity.
'We have sent 15 officers to monitor the volcano around the clock,' Hendrasto said in Bandung.
'Between 80 to 125 tremors within six hours have been recorded, which is considered high,' he continued.
As of Wednesday, the water temperature of the crater lake went up from 52 to 57 degrees Celsius.
Hendrasto, however, could not predict whether the volcanic activity would lead to a major eruption. A lava dome with a total volume of 16.28 million cubic meters has now formed in the middle of the crater lake.
Mt. Kelud, standing at 1,730 meters above sea level, is located on the border of Kediri and Blitar regencies, both in East Java. It used to have a green and acidic crater lake, but since 2007, a lava dome appeared in the middle of the lake.
Since the 15th century, the volcano has claimed more than 15,000 lives.
Mt. Kelud last erupted in 2007, however, there were no fatalities.
Previous eruptions took place in 1901, 1919, 1951, 1966 and 1990. In 1990, the eruption claimed the lives of 32 people, while the massive eruption in 1919 killed 5,110.
The most fatal eruption occurred in 1586, killing over 10,000 people.