Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) plans to install 20 Early Warning System (EWS) sensor units for flash flood disasters in river flows in the Mount Marapi area, West Sumatra.

BNPB Disaster Mitigation Director Berton Suar Pandjaitan stated on Tuesday that the EWS sensors would be specifically installed in the river flows in Tanah Datar District, Agam District, and Padang Panjang City.

"Currently, our team is surveying strategic locations to install 20 sensor units and disaster mitigation signs," he noted.

Based on the results of the BNPB analysis, the three locations are prone to flash flood disasters, as they directly intersect with several rivers originating from Mount Marapi that erupted several times.

According to the BNPB data, 62 residents in local districts and cities died as a result of flash floods carrying material from Marapi's volcanic activities.

Pandjaitan then underscored the importance of information from the EWS system for the community to minimize the impact of the flood disaster in the event of it recurring in the future.

He noted that the potential impact of the disaster was still high. Based on analysis by a team of geologists, they found around 700 thousand cubic meters of volcanic material on the slopes of Mount Marapi.

Hence, dozens of EWS sensors will be able to measure rainfall and river water levels, integrated with weather sensors installed by the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) at three places around the slopes of Mount Marapi, he explained.

Pandjaitan stated that the device will work if rain falls in the upstream area of the river, followed by rapid water flow and increased river volume, thereby triggering the device to sound a siren, signaling danger and the urgency for people to evacuate.

Earlier, five districts in West Sumatra were hit by cold lava floods from Mount Marapi on May 11.

The BNPB recorded that as of May 29, 2024, the number of casualties had reached 63, while 10 others were declared missing. Meanwhile, a total of 503 residential units bore the brunt of the disaster, with 126 severely damaged, 43 moderately damaged, and 334 lightly damaged.

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Translator: M. Riezko Bima E, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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