REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA - National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) has urged people to vacate an area stretching across a radius of 2.5 kilometers from the crater of Mount Bromo, East Java, which is seeing increasing volcanic activity.
"As the alert status has been raised, the people living around Bromo and tourists/climbers are not allowed to enter the area, covering a radius of 2.5 kilometers from the active crater of Mount Bromo," said Head of Data and Information and Public Relations of BNPB Sutopo Purwo Nugroho in a written statement received here on Monday.
By doing so, he said, tourists are not allowed to visit sites around the peak of Bromo or the sea of sand.
Nugroho said PVMBG had established the level of activity at Mount Bromo as rising from Level II (alert) to Level III (standby) on Monday at 6 a.m. The determination was based on observations and analyses of seismic data, visual aids, and the potential danger of eruption.
Despite the increase in the standby status, Nugroho believed tourists would still want to visit Bromo. An eruption at the site could be utilized as a tourist attraction, especially for those who wish to see the beauty of the eruption, with smoke flowing out of the crater.
Although Bromo is on standby status, he noted, people around the peak should remain calm and should not enter the danger zone near the active crater. Communities around Bromo are expected to remain calm and vigilant against the ongoing threat of eruption.
"This is an opportunity to promote the appeal of Mount Bromo. Do not be afraid---as long as the tourists are in a safe place, that is, outside a radius of 2.5 kilometers. The material exiting the volcanic crater of Bromo can often form a variety of shapes, such as tigers, puppets, eagles, umbrellas, and rainbows after the initial booms and smoke flowing out of the crater," he remarked.
According to him, tourists can still enjoy the beauty of Mount Bromo. Tourists who come to view Mount Bromo, Mount Batok, and Mount Semeru can move on to the areas of Tosari and Penanjakan. Further, Bromo can be seen from Ngadasari and from Argosari B29.
"In fact, when the eruption occurs, views of the pyroclastic flow can be enjoyed from a safe place," he added.
BNPB will continue to coordinate with PVMBG, the Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) of East Java Province, the BPBD of Probolinggo, the BPBD of Malang, and the BPBD of Pasuruan in anticipation of activity on Bromo.
So far, said Nugroho, there is no need to take refuge. The area covering a radius of 2.5 kilometers from the crater is a sea of sand and has no settlements.
During the period from Sept 1 to 25, 2016, a monitoring team recorded continuous earthquake tremors, with maximum amplitude fluctuation ranging from 0.5 to 23 millimeters (dominant 1-3 millimeters), earthquake gusts, shallow volcanic earthquakes (VBs), and major volcanic earthquakes (VAs).
Since Sept 24, he said, there was a significant increase in the number of VBs, recorded at 63 incidents and constant tremors on Monday from 1 p.m. During September, the sound of thunder has been heard emanating from the crater of Mount Bromo, followed by thick smoke flowing out of the crater at a height of 50-900 meters; faint light from fire spots has been observed as well.
Seismic activity on Sunday (Sept 25), stated Nugroho, registered a dominance of 4 millimeters in the volcanic tremors' amplitude. Seismic activity was dominated by VBs, tremor vibrations and deformations, which showed inflation.
"The potential for continuous magmatic eruption is still high and may be accompanied by the spread of volcanic material from the eruption in the form of heavy ash fall and hurled stones (incandescent), starting around the crater and falling over a radius of 2.5 kilometers from the center of the eruption," he said.