The Jakarta Post
People have criticized the Meterology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) on social media for its initial handling of the Sunda Strait tsunami that hit beaches in Lampung and Banten on Saturday night.
The BMKG initially announced on Saturday night that there had been a tidal wave in the Sunda Strait, refuting tsunami claims.
“The BMKG has not recorded any earthquake occurring tonight. What happened in Anyer and the surrounding area was not a tsunami, but a tidal wave. There is also a full moon tonight, which causes high tidal waves. Stay calm,” the BMKG stated on its Twitter account on Saturday night. The tweet also included a "sunglasses" emoji.
The agency apologized for the tweet shortly after, saying that the emoji was "inappropriate."
#BMKG tidak mencatat adanya gempa yang menyebabkan tsunami malam ini. Yang terjadi di Anyer dan sekitarnya bukan tsunami karena aktivitas seismik gempa. … Tetap tenang 🙏— BMKG (@infoBMKG) 22 Desember 2018
Sedikit ralat tweet sebelumnya, karena ada emoticon yang kurang pas dan ada penegasan pernyataan. 🙏🙏🙏
Not long after, the BMKG tweeted that a tsunami had indeed occurred, saying that it was suspected to have been caused by volcanic activity from Anak Krakatau.
UPDATE:— BMKG (@infoBMKG) 22 Desember 2018
Gelombang pasang di Anyer dan sekitarnya memang bukan tsunami karena aktivitas gempa tektonik. Namun hal tersebut DIDUGA tsunami akibat aktivitas gunung Anak Krakatau, setelah mendapat data dari Badan Geologi. #BMKG akan melakukan verifikasi lanjutan mengenai fenomena ini
A similar statement was made by National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho based on the BMKG's information in a now deleted tweet.
However, Sutopo retracted his statement on Sunday morning through a tweet, apologizing for the wrong information he had spread the night before.
“My apologies regarding my previous tweet which claimed there had been a tidal wave instead of a tsunami. There have been changes of information in accordance with new data and analysis. There was indeed a tsunami in the Sunda Strait. We are referring to the BMKG,” his tweet says.
Mohon maaf jika di twitt awal saya menyampaikan bukan tsunami tapi gelombang pasang. Adanya perubahan dan perbaikan informasi karena sesuai dengan data dan analisis terbaru. Jadi, benar ada tsunami di Selat Sunda. Kita semua mengacu BMKG.— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) 23 Desember 2018
Netizens took the BMKG to task over the conflicting information.
"Too much joking around, even though it's an official account," @dodon_alone tweeted.
Kebanyakan becanda sih.— tukang_noong (@dodon_alone) December 23, 2018
Padahal ni akun resmi.
2 kali saya catat kesalahan tweet bmkg ttg bencana.
Pertama dulu palu, skrg area lampung dan pandeglang.
Sibuk pencitraan sih
"The BMKG should work more professionally, inaccurate information about tsunamis can create more victims. Their performance should be evaluated," @rillamaria_ said.
BMKG Agar BEKERJA Lebih PROFESIONAL, Informasi ttg TSUNAMI yg Tidak Akurat Menyebabkan Jatuh Korban yg Banyak. Perlu di EVALUASI KINERJANYA— Bersama Terbaik Untuk Negeri #2019PrabowoSandi (@rillamaria_) December 23, 2018
"Please do not contradict yourself like this. Did you not learn your lesson about giving conflicting information about the tsunami early warning during the Palu-Donggala tsunami?" user @badmintonuts said.
TOLONG JANGAN SIMPANG SIUR BEGINI. APA KALIAN GAK KAPOK DULU SIMPANG SIUR KASIH INFO PERINGATAN DINI BERAKHIR TSUNAMI PALU DONGGALA. KALIAN DIGAJI PAKE UANG RAKYAT.— 영서초 - 수빈초 (@badmintonuts) December 22, 2018
The BMKG had previously been heavily criticized for allegedly ending the tsunami warning too early when high waves hit various areas in Central Sulawesi in October. (kmt/ars)