Regional govt must act proactively in handling Sinabung eruption: DPR

Regional govt must act proactively in handling Sinabung eruption: DPR

Mount Sinabung spewed volcanic material during an eruption in Karo, North Sumatra, Monday (10/8/2020). Antara Foto / Sastrawan Ginting / Lmo / pras.

Jakarta (ANTARA) - House of Representatives (DPR) Deputy Speaker Azis Syamsuddin urged North Sumatra's regional government and other parties to act quickly and proactively to help communities affected by the erupting Mount Sinabung, Karo, North Sumatra, Aug 10.

"I urge the governor, district heads, security forces, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), and other stakeholders to immediately help the residents and stop activities within a certain radius from the mountain’s peak for their own safety, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic," he noted in a statement in Jakarta, Monday.

Syamsuddin appealed to the authorities, especially the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), to make concentrated and combined efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic to immediately help residents around Mount Sinabung.

According to the DPR deputy speaker, the BNPB is currently at the forefront of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, but as a disaster mitigation agency, it must prioritize duties, principles, and functions (Tupoksi).

"Hence, ensure that the BNPB does not forget about its own main duties and functions despite currently being at the forefront of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic," the deputy speaker noted.

Furthermore, Syamsuddin urged the people around Mount Sinabung to adhere to the advice of the security apparatus if evacuation was deemed necessary to avoid exposure to volcanic ash if Mount Sinabung's alert status was increased.

"The people are urged to be obedient. Do not let any residents stay in their houses, as they have to look after livestock or land," he noted.

Mount Sinabung had erupted on Saturday at 1:58 a.m. WIB, sending a massive column of ash and smoke around two thousand meters high into the air, or some 4,460 meters above sea level.

This eruption was the first to have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic after the last one on June 9, 2019, sending volcanic ash up to seven thousand meters above the volcano's peak, or 9,460 meters above sea level. Mount Sinabung had remained dormant for four centuries, but it roared back to life in 2010 and has sporadically remained active.

The last known eruption, prior to recent times, occurred in the year 1600.

Volcanic ash from the erupting Mount Sinabung that reached two thousand meters into the air affected four sub-districts in Karo District, North Sumatra Province, on Saturday morning.

"Naman Teran, Berastagi, Simpang 4, and Merdeka are the sub-districts affected by the volcanic ash emitted from the erupting Mount Sinabung," Muhamad Nurul Assori, an officer at the Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG), stated here on Saturday.

PVMBG's Mount Sinabung Observation Post has appealed to residents to wear face masks or personal protection equipment to safeguard from exposure to the volcanic ash. Related news: 1,500 face masks distributed following Mt Sinabung's eruption 
Related news: Mount Sinabung erupts again, ejecting 5,000-meter-high ash column