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Mount Merapi

Mount Merapi, Gunung Merapi ('Mountain of Fire'), is a conical volcano located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548. It is very close to the city of Yogyakarta, and thousands of people live on the flanks of the volcano, with villages as high as 1700 m above sea level.


Situation report: 24 April 2006
Mount Merapi Volcano

Situation report: 24 April 2006

On 12 April 2006, the Indonesian government's Directorate of Vulcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation detected increased volcanic activity at Mt. Merapi in Central Java, and raised the level of alertness to the second highest possible, indicating a high probability of an eruption. Technical data from the Research and Technology Development Agency for Vulcanology (BPPTK) in Yogyakarta further confirmed the high level of alert. By 23 April, the agency had recorded numerous multi-phase and volcanic tremors,stre ams of lava and rockslides, with thick sulphurous smoke at 350 m height from the mountain's crater, but believes that the indications are not yet strong enough to warrant moving up the alert status to the highest level.

From national to district level, the Indonesian government has been mobilizing effectively to prepare for the possible disaster. It is logistically well prepared, having identified access and exit routes, with transportation on standby. The government has been quick to release emergency funds for i mm ediate use and has mobilized large quantities of food and non-food relief items for distribution.

Local authorities in Yogyakarta and Central Java have taken steps to prepare the populations at risk, warning nearby families to be vigilant and encouraging vulnerable groups of people to move to safer areas. At the present situation, the Indonesian government anticipates that up to 80,000 people could be displaced should Mt. Merapi erupt.

The District Executing Unit for the Management and Coordination (Satlak PB) for Klaten and Magelang districts has identified the districts and populations at risk on the slopes of the mountain, and local authorities have been evacuating people since 21 April. As of 23 April at 18:00 local time (11:00 GMT), 898 people from Klaten, 871 people from Magelang and 8 people from Boyolali have been evacuated, while Sleman authorities will begin the evacuations today. A constraint being faced by evacuation efforts is the reluctance of the local communities especially in Boyolali and Sleman to leave their homes before the alert level is at its highest (thereby triggering a compulsory evacuation within 24 hours). Many others also fear losing their livestock and belongings during their absence.

The National Coordinating Board for the Management of Disaster (BAKORNAS PB) reported that based on the coordination meeting of 18 April, heads of the affected districts (Boyolali, Magelang, Klaten and Sleman) have been granted the authority to coordinate the resources available in their districts for emergency response once an eruption occurs. The minister of social affairs visited these districts on 19 April to monitor the preparedness of district operational posts and the community.

The department of health has deployed 320 medical personnel and provided 40,000 masks, 10 tonnes of biscuits, 65 vest and hats, one ambulance, one tent, one generator, one emergency kit, and a total of 220 body bags. A joint World Health Organization, ministry of health and University of Gajah Mada team traveled to the affected area on 20 April to undertake a rapid preparatory assessment.

The Provincial Disaster Management Coordination Unit (SATKORLAK),in coordination with district-level units, is working closely to consolidate preparedness measures. Quick repair was made on evacuation routes badly damaged by rain. In Sleman, for instance, district government allocated IDR 3.3 billion to repair 12 km of roads. Similar repair is being done on a few village roads in Magelang essential for evacuation. Essential means of transportation has also been allocated to th e districts at risk: 150 trucks for Magelang, 20 trucks and20 pick-ups for Boyolali, 3 trucks for Klaten, and 272 buses and trucks for Sleman. These are in addition to vehicles contributed by the military and police, and other agencies, including the Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia or PMI), and t h e private sector. In an update to the last information bulletin, the provincial police command has deployed a further 1,000 personnel to assist evacuation and later to maintain security in evacuated villages. This deployment in cludes three units of 180 health officers.

Abbreviations
BAKORNAS PB: National Coordinating Board for the Management of Disaster
BPPTK: Center for Volcano Research and Technology Development
SATLAK: District Disaster Management Committee
SATKORLAK: Provincial Coordinating Unit for the Management of Disasters
SO2: sulphur oxide

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Last revised on January 17, 2010
    
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