Padang, West Sumatra. Twenty-five volcanoes in Indonesia are now showing abnormal activity or have been put on alert or watch status, presidential special aide Andi Arief said here on Saturday.
“According to official data, 25 volcanoes are now under alert or watch status and they must be given priority with regard to disaster mitigation planning at district or city levels,” he said at a workshop on journalists’ role in disaster management.
He said in West Sumatra there were two volcanoes that need to be closely watched, namely Mount Marapi and Mount Talang, as they are still under alert status.
Mount Marapi is located in Agam and Tanahdatar districts and rises 2891 meters above sea level, and Mount Talang (2597 meters above sea level) in Solok district was located around 40 kilometers from the provincial capital Padang.
Apart from the two volcanoes, the government and regional disaster management agencies were also giving priority attention to Mount Papandayan in West Java, Mount Karangetan and Lokon in North Sulawesi, Mount Ijen in East Java, Mount Gamalama in North Maluku, Mount Krakatau in Banten and Lampung and Mount Lewoloto in East Nusa Tenggara.
He said “it is not impossible that volcanoes that are now still normal could change to become abnormal due to earthquakes that have happened to trigger magma in the mountains to increase their activity, and therefore alertness and readiness of the people must continue to be maintained.”
Andi said earthquakes below five on the Richter Scale could trigger magma in the volcanoes to rise and so people must not only be alert over big but also small tremors.
The 4.4 magnitude earthquake like the one in Singkawang, West Kalimantan, is one of the examples, where people had never predicted before that it could happen there, he said.
“The small magnitude quake is now being studied by researchers with regard to minimizing the damage in case an eruption happens in the country as there are a lot of volcanoes in Indonesia,” he said.