TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The West Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) made haste to evacuate climbers from Mount Marapi following an eruption recorded around 6:11 a.m. WIB (Western Indonesian Time) on Saturday.
The evacuation was conducted based on information received from the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG), head of the agency, Ardi Andono, informed in a statement on Saturday in Lubukbasung, Agam District.
“If the eruption slows down, we will do sweeping. Of course, this condition is also for the safety of the evacuation team later on,” he said.
There were 40 climbers on Mount Marapi when it erupted on Saturday morning, he informed.
“Twenty people had climbed on Thursday (January 5, 2023) and 20 more people had climbed on Friday (January 6),” he said, citing data from the agency.
Generally, the climbers had set up tents on the lower rock cliffs, he said.
However, 20 had descended from there, while another 20 climbers were still there, he added.
The agency had closed the hiking trail at the end of 2022 until January 2, 2023.
After the volcano erupted on Saturday, the agency again shut the hiking trail.
“One of the reasons why the hiking trails were closed from December 2022 to January 2, 2023, was due to increased earthquake activity,” Andono explained.
Mount Marapi erupted around 6:11 a.m. local time on Saturday. Based on observations, the height of the ash column reached ± 300 meters above the peak, or ± 3,191 meters above sea level.
The grey ash column was thick and moved toward the southeast. The eruption was recorded on a seismograph with a maximum amplitude of 13.4 mm and a duration of about 45 seconds.
Currently, Mount Marapi is on Level 2 alert, which means that no one is allowed to venture within a radius of three kilometers from the crater or peak.
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