Jakarta (ANTARA) - The central government highlighted the importance of paying special attention to the handling of disaster events in West Sumatra, as it faces more risks of natural catastrophes than any other province in Indonesia.

"In 2023 alone, West Sumatra was struck by at least 460 of 5,400 disaster events in Indonesia," Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy stated.

Speaking to journalists here on Tuesday, Effendy said he planned to visit West Sumatra this week to oversee the impacts of flash floods of the Mount Marapi's cold lava flow that struck several areas over the weekend.

The disaster events that often threaten West Sumatra range from eruption to hydrometeorological hazards, he added.

Effendy said his ministry continues to coordinate with related agencies to find a permanent solution to address the issue of the volcano's cold lava flow and impacts of the recent catastrophe.

"May we soon be able to find a permanent solution to Mount Marapi's cold lava flow because when eruptions happen, there will potentially be a cold lava flood," he stated.

Saturday evening's cold lava flood must serve as a lesson to prevent the recurrence of such deadly disaster event in future, he stated while reiterating his promise to oversee the disaster-hit areas.

Related news: Death toll of lava floods in West Sumatra reaches 58: BNPB

Mount Marapi first erupted on December 3, 2023, at around 2:54 p.m. Western Indonesian Time (WIB). The eruption reportedly left 75 hikers trapped on the slopes of the volcano.

The volcano erupted again on January 6 at around 8:45 p.m. local time.

On Saturday evening (May 11), cold lava flow from Mount Marapi and landslides were recorded in several parts of the districts of Agam and Tanah Datar as well as Padang Panjang City, killing at least 52 people.

According to the West Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), the catastrophe also caused 17 other residents to go missing and severely damaged many houses, buildings, and public facilities.

Several road sections, including the one near Anai Valley's waterfall, were also crippled, resulting in the disruption of mobility of people and goods between Padang and Bukittinggi.

To serve students affected by Mount Marapi's cold lava floods and landslides in several parts of West Sumatra over the weekend, Andalas University has launched an online learning initiative.

The online learning will be effective from May 13 to May 17, Andalas University (Unand) rector Efa Yonnedi announced in Padang, the capital of West Sumatra province, early this week.

Related news: West Sumatra's floods: Government to repair damaged facilities, houses

Translator: Lintang BP, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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