Padang, West Sumatra (ANTARA) - The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), together with the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) and the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (PVMBG) is designing a community-based early warning system (EWS) for flash floods in West Sumatra.

"The EWS model that is currently being designed by the BMKG team is a community-based early warning system," Head of the Padang Panjang Geophysics Station Suaidi Ahadi said here on Sunday.

The early warning system is a follow-up to President Joko Widodo's (Jokowi) direction to accelerate emergency handling of the cold lava floods that recently hit West Sumatra.

Various evaluations were carried out to develop an effective early warning system design for potential cold lava floods based on the experience of the disaster that occurred on Saturday (May 11).

"Currently, BMKG is proposing strengthening and monitoring related to early warning of flood and landslide disasters around Mount Marapi," he said.

The concept designed by BMKG is the installation of river monitoring equipment using radar which can monitor river water levels.

Ahadi explained that the EWS would confirm early warnings issued by BMKG based on the weather and ground vibrations.

If the EWS alarm sounds, the disaster preparedness communities of village heads around Mount Marapi immediately coordinate to carry out an independent evacuation.

To prevent the recurrence of cold lava floods which could cause casualties, BMKG noted that it is necessary to install at least EWS at 23 points spread across Agam District, Tanah Datar District, and Padang Panjang City.

Currently, the BNPB team is surveying the locations for the EWS installation. The survey is carried out by using drones and helicopters for area monitoring.

BMKG's proposal will later be discussed in more detail with PVMBG, including listening to and considering other proposals submitted by academics so that the EWS is effective in meeting information needs at the community level.

"We are targeting the early warning system units' installation to be carried out this year," he said.

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Translator: Muhammad Zulfikar, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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