Regarding when Mount Merapi will erupt, the BPPTKG predicts that it is only a matter of waiting in a matter of days to weeks for an eruption to occur.
In line with the increase in volcanic activity on Mount Merapi, the Geological Disaster Technology Observation and Development Center (BPPTKG) has upgraded its status to Alert (Level III) since November 5, 2020. Volcanic earthquake shocks continue to be felt and cause the old lava cliffs in the crater of Mount Merapi to fall.
Changes in the status of Mount Merapi were carried out based on monitoring and evaluation of BPPTKG data. Earthquake tremors occurred intensively starting in October 2020. On November 4, 2020, there were 29 volcanic earthquakes per day, 57 avalanches per day, and 64 gusts per day. This situation has exceeded the time before the appearance of the lava dome in 2006.
Starting from 2018 until today, Mount Merapi has experienced several explosive eruptions on the scale of the Volcanic Exlosivity Index (VEI) -1. As a comparison, the devastating eruption of Mount Merapi in 2010 which killed 277 people was included in VEI-4. Meanwhile, the eruption in 2006 that killed 151 lives was recorded on the VEI-2 scale.
However, the current activity of Mount Merapi is still lower when compared to the days leading up to the eruption in 2010. So if this time Mount Merapi erupts again, it is predicted that the strength of the explosive eruptions is on the VEI-2 to VEI-4 scale. For information, VEI has a scale of 1 to 8 based on the volcanic strength that occurs.
Seeing this condition, mitigation steps need to be taken to avoid the hundreds of casualties as in 2006. Vulnerable groups such as the elderly and pregnant women must be a priority for evacuation. The residents' livestock have also been moved to a safer place. However, this will be difficult considering that currently Indonesia is still plagued by the Covid-19 pandemic.
When did Mount Merapi erupt?
When this article was written (11/24/2020), the current conditions of Mount Merapi appeared to be emitting thick smoke 50 meters above the top of the crater. The observation period at 00.00-06.00 WIB also heard the sound of avalanches three times from Pos Babadan. Since its status as Alert, Mount Merapi's activity has continued to experience a significant increase.
The BPPTKG predicts that it is only a matter of time before Mount Merapi erupts. People living in vulnerable areas, starting from Sleman Regency, Magelang Regency, Boyolali Regency, and Klaten Regency are expected to always be alert. Two of the three hamlets in Sleman which are in the red zone have even been vacated.
All activities in the red zone or Disaster Prone Area (KRB) III will be temporarily suspended until an undetermined time. Tourist attractions within a five kilometer radius must be closed. Meanwhile, tourist attractions in the KRB I and KRB II prone zones are allowed to be open on a limited basis while remaining alert to the threat of sudden eruptions.
Evacuation of Tourists During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Residents have made mitigation efforts by self-evacuation. For tourists who come when Mount Merapi erupts, they are directed to move away from the vulnerable zone and to the evacuation area. Regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, evacuations will still be carried out by carrying out health protocols. Apart from washing hands, bulkheads are installed at the evacuation sites so that you can maintain your distance.
The refugee barracks are equipped with booths. One booth for one person. If husband and wife, one room can be used for two people. Complete hand washing facilities are available. Refugees are expected to wear medical masks when Mount Merapi erupts. Medical officers are also on standby to serve refugees who experience complaints related to their health conditions.
Source – 2020-11-24 07:00:00