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Jakarta Post

BMKG under fire for conflicting cues on Sunda Strait tsunami

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, December 24, 2018   /   08:41 am
BMKG under fire for conflicting cues on Sunda Strait tsunami This handout from Indonesia's Social Affairs Ministry taken and released on December 23, 2018 shows damaged buildings and vehicles in Carita, Banten, after the area was hit by a tsunami on December 22 following an eruption of Anak Krakatau. (AFP/Handout / Indonesia Social Affairs Ministry)

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."



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.



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.



Netizens took the BMKG to task over the conflicting information.

"Too much joking around, even though it's an official account," @dodon_alone tweeted.



"The BMKG should work more professionally, inaccurate information about tsunamis can create more victims. Their performance should be evaluated," @rillamaria_ said.



"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.



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)