Government Warns on High Waves and Eruptions
The government warned of the possibility that natural disasters could strike in several of the country’s regions in the coming weeks. Senior government officials have asked the Indonesian people to brace for potential volcanic eruptions and huge waves expected to pound numerous coastal regions.
Speaking after a limited Cabinet meeting, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said that at least 12 volcanoes were active throughout the country, while Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Jamal cautioned that huge waves, in excess of six meters in height, could persist until August.
Purnomo said the danger rating of 10 volcanoes is on the third highest level and that they require close monitoring. They are Talang in West Sumatra, Minor Krakatau in Lampung, Merapi in Yogyakarta, Semeru and Bromo in East Java, Batutara in East Nusa Tenggara, Karang Etan and Lokon in North Sulawesi and Dukono and Ibu in North Maluku.
Soputan in North Sulawesi is at “beware” status, the second highest danger level, while Gamkonora in North Maluku is at the highest alert status.
The heightened activities of Gamkonora prompted the evacuation of 13,000 people after the volcano began spewing ash and debris over the past few days.
On Thursday, the government also issued a warning for high waves.
Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) chairwomen Sri Woro Budiharti Haryono attributed the high waves to tropical cyclone Man Yi that will likely shroud several regions in the country.
Sri Woro said waves of between three and six meters in height will likely crash against the Eastern shores of the country near the Seram, Aru and Arafuru seas, the Fak Fak and Merauke coasts and most of Maluku.
On Wednesday, passenger ship KM Wahai Star, plying the Buru Island-Ambon route and carrying 60 passengers, sank in Pulau Tiga Isle. High waves were blamed for the incident.
Ships of all types are barred from travel when waves reach between three and six meters, Sri Woro said.
Waves of between two and three meters will likely pound coasts facing the Indonesian Ocean south of Java, waters off Masalembo and the Sulawesi Sea, she said, adding that sea transportation during periods when waves reach such heights is considered dangerous.
The government also warned of the possibility of flooding and forest fires in the coming months.
After hearing presentations about the possible disasters, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered relevant agencies to implement disaster mitigation procedures.
Yudhoyono asked the BMG to keep the public updated on weather occurrences and information that could serve as an early warning for disasters.
“The President also paid special attention to information on the heightened activities of volcanoes. He wants the BMG to coordinate with governors and regents throughout the country about disseminating the information,” Purnomo said.