Indonesia raises alert, widens danger zone around volcano

SYAWALLUDIN ZAIN and NINIEK KARMINI, Associated Press Yahoo News 28 Dec 18;

CARITA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia raised the danger level for an island volcano that triggered a tsunami on the weekend, killing at least 430 people in Sumatra and Java, and widened its no-go zone.

The country's volcanology agency on Thursday increased the Anak Krakatau volcano's alert status to the second-highest and more than doubled the exclusion zoneto a 5-kilometer (3-mile) radius. The eruption on Saturday evening caused part of the island in the Sunda Strait to collapse into the sea, apparently generating tsunami waves of more than 2 meters (6 1/2 feet). Most tsunamis are caused by earthquakes.

The government has warned communities in the strait to stay a kilometer (less than a mile) away from the coastline because of the risk of another tsunami triggered by Anak Krakatau's eruptions. A navy vessel was expected to pass by the island, which could give scientists more information about the risks of a second collapse.

"There's still a chance of a landslide, even under the sea level or on the sea level," said Rudy Sunendar, head of the Energy Ministry's Geology Department. "Based on the satellite imagery interpretation, there is collapse of some area of Mount Anak Krakatau," he told The Associated Press at the volcano's monitoring post.

Saturday's disaster struck without warning, surprising people in a country that regularly suffers landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. No earthquake shook the ground beforehand, and the waves surged inland at night on a holiday weekend while people were enjoying concerts and other beachside activities.

Indonesia's tsunami warning system relies on land seismometers and buoys connected to tidal gauges and is not equipped to detect underwater landslides. The system, in any case, has not operated for years because the buoys have been vandalized or not maintained because of low funding.

Heavy rains and high seas have hampered the search for victims. Some bodies were found at sea and at least 159 people are missing.

On Thursday, residents of badly affected Banten province on Java island were searching through the debris of destroyed or damaged homes for anything salvageable.

"I've lost everything I have, my house and all belongings inside it," said farmer Muhamad Sarta.

"I just hope for some help from the government," he said. "Hopefully there will be some repairs. I have nowhere to go. I have no money. Whatever I had was lost in the water."

Radar data from satellites, converted into images, shows Anak Krakatau shrunk dramatically following Saturday's eruption.

Satellite photos aren't available because of cloud cover but radar images from a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency satellite taken before and after the eruption show the volcano's southwestern flank has disappeared.

JAXA's post-eruption image shows concentric waves radiating from the island, which experts say is caused by its ongoing eruptions.

Dave Petley, head of research and innovation at Sheffield University who analyzed similar images from a European Space Agency satellite, said they support the theory that a landslide, most of it undersea, caused the tsunami.

"The challenge now is to interpret what might be happening on the volcano, and what might happen next," he wrote in a blog.

Anak Krakatau, which means Child of Krakatau, is the offspring of the infamous Krakatau volcano that affected the global climate with a massive eruption in 1883.

Anak Krakatau first rose above sea level in 1929, according to Indonesia's volcanology agency, and has been increasing its land mass since then.

Range of dangerous areas of angry Anak Krakatau extended
Antara 27 Dec 18;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Tourists and anyone are warned not to get closer than five kilometers from the crater of the angry Anak Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait, which is located between Java and Sumatra Islands.

The activities of the volcano are more intensive and threatening, therefore, the range of dangerous areas is set wider to five kilometers from the crater, head of the Information Data Center and spokesman of the National Agency for Disaster Control (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said here on Thursday.

"The people including tourists are not allowed to get closer than 5 kilometers from the crater of the volcano," Sutopo said.

Sutopo said volcanic activities of Anak Krakatau in the Sunda Strait had continued to increase.

On Thursday, from 00.00 to 06.000 local time Anak Krakatau continued to erupt sending hot volcanic ashes and other materials and thick clouds to the sky.

Meanwhile, the meteorology and geophysics office warned the people to stay at least 500 meters from the coast line to be safer from possibility of tsunami again.

Tsunami last weekend left more than 430 people dead in Banten and Southern Lampung coastal areas with hundreds of people still missing and thousands of other injured.

Tsunami was believed to have been triggered by big land slides under waters as a result of continued tremors and eruptions of Anak Krakatau .

Sutopo, therefore, called on the people to remain on the alert and monitor information for early warning about possible repeat of tsunami.

"Don`t easily believe hoax and false information sent by irresponsible people," he said.

Reporting by Dewanto Samodro, A Saragih
Editing by Eliswan Azly
Editor: Fardah Assegaf

Thousands flee after Mount Anak Krakatau`s alert status raised to Level III
Antara 27 Dec 18;

Kalianda, Lampung (ANTARA News) - Some one thousand residents living along Teluk Kilaun coast in Lampung province evacuated to higher grounds on Thursday after the alert status of Mount Anak Krakatau was raised to level III.

"This afternoon, thousands of residents fled their houses. Some of them evacuated to mountain ranges, plantations, and their relatives` houses in higher grounds," Head of Teluk Kiluan village Kadek stated.

Most of the evacuees were children and mothers, he added.

The men were still on standby near the coast and stayed alert for sea waves, he noted.

"The men were on standby near the coast in the company of police and military personnel and other relevant officers," he revealed.

Kadek remarked that logistic stock for the evacuees will be enough only for two days and called on the government to send logistics to evacuation camps.

"The logistics that the Tanggamus district head and PMI (the Indonesian Red Cross) sent two days ago will be sufficient for two days only. We have asked for soaps, tarpaulins, and others (for the evacuees)," he explained.

Earlier, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) asked local residents to remain calm and stay alert for the increased activity of Mount Anak Krakatau after its alert status had been raised to level III (Watch) from level II (Alert) as of 06.00 a.m. on Thursday.

Reporting by Hisar Sitanggang/Damiri, Suharto
Editing by Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Yosep Hariyadi

Tourists urged to temporarily avoid beaches
Andi Abdussalam Antara 27 Dec 18;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Tourism Ministry has decided to temporarily stop tourism promotions for destinations affected by last weekend?s tsunami that hit the Sunda Strait, calling on tourists to avoid beaches during Christmas and New Year holidays.

"The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) has issued a warning that the waves will be high from Dec 22 to 29, 2018, in a number of coastal areas of Indonesia. Therefore, the people and tourists are expected not to be ignorant about the government`s appeal," Guntur Sakti, chief the Ministry`s Tourism Crisis Center Team (TCC), stated in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Tourists or other holidaymakers should avoid beaches, especially those in regions affected by a devastating Sunda Strait tsunami last weekend where the ministry had also temporarily stopped tourism promotions.

Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya had earlier on Sunday instructed tourists to temporarily terminate all destination promotion activities in all regions affected by the disaster that occurred in the Sunda Strait area.

"In the emergency response phase, we instructed that all promotional activities in disaster-affected destinations be stopped," Yahya remarked through a written statement.

In order to prevent any untoward incident befalling tourists in the beach, the ministry, through the TCC, had issued a warning, calling on tourists to choose non-beach destinations for the time being.

"BMKG has appealed to people or tourists to stay 1 kilometer away from the beach. For that reason, it is recommended that for the time being, tourists choose a vacation destination other than the beach. They are also required to always update the weather information through social media account or mobile application of the BMKG," Sakti explained in Jakarta on Wednesday (Dec 26).

According to him, the public was asked to be alert of the bad weather conditions and high waves that had been predicted based on data and information received by the TCC Team from BMKG.

He reminded that tourists, while on vacation, should therefore obey the government`s and BMKG`s warning. As regard, Sakti added that his party continued to monitor conditions in Lampung and Banten after the tsunami on Saturday (Dec 22, 2018).

Hence, for the time being, the ministry also halted the promotion activities for the tourism destinations in areas affected by the Sunda Strait tsunami, such as the Carita and Anyer beaches, as well as the Tanjung Lesung tourist resort in Banten, which is one of the 10 tourism destinations branded as the New Bali.

According to Center for Data Information and Public Relations of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), up to Wednesday, the death toll from the tsunami in Sunda Strait had reached 430. The agency also noted that until the fourth day after the Sunda Strait tsunami, 1,495 people were injured, 159 people were missing, and 21,991 people were displaced due to the disaster that struck on Saturday.

"A total of 430 people died, and the number could continue to climb, as the SAR team is still focusing on its operations," BNPB Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Sutopo noted at a press conference at BNPB in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The tsunami, which hit at around 9:30 p.m. local time on Saturday (Dec 22), affected five districts, namely Pandeglang and Serang of Banten Province in Java; and South Lampung, Pesawaran, and Tanggamus of Lampung Province in Sumatra.

Of the five districts, the worst impact was felt by Pandeglang district, with 290 people dead, 1,143 people injured, 77 people missing, and 17,477 people displaced. In Serang, 25 people died, 62 were injured, 68 were missing, and 83 were displaced.

In South Lampung district, 113 people died, 289 were injured, 14 missing, and 4,200 individuals were displaced, while in Pesawaran, there was one fatality, one was injured, and 231 were displaced, whereas one person died in Tanggamus.

The Ministry of Tourism has ensured that tourist routes from Anyer Beach area to the Tanjung Lesung Tourist Resort in Banten are gradually returning to normal.

Sakti revealed that the previously closed lanes have now been opened and could be used either from Cilegon or from Pandeglang directions.

"It has gradually returned to normal. There is no debris across the road. Thanks to the hard work of the joint team of the military, police, National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), and related ministries/institutions," he noted.

According to the TCC Team, the local people whose buildings were affected, along the Anyer Beach to Tanjung Lesung areas, also took part in cleaning the buildings.

The pier for boats and speedboats in the area around the Carita Beach was damaged, and some speedboats were also damaged by the tsunami.

"With regard to electricity supply, it is in the process of recovery. There is no problem with regard to telecommunications," Sakti pointed out.

Editing by Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Yosep Hariyadi