The local Red Cross`s secretary, Apriliyanto, said here Thursday that the face mask distribution is a safety effort to preserve the health of area residents in response to volcanic activities at Mount Semeru.
Besides face masks, the Red Cross has also prepared other logistical support, such as tents, and they have built evacuation areas in five Malang`s sub-districts.
The face masks were brought in after the Red Cross received information about volcanic ash that had covered a hamlet area in Ngadas.
"The location`s weather is still cloudy, and no further information on the impact of the volcanic ash has been received about the mount`s increasing status, which has been upgraded from level II to level III," he said.
According to Apriliyanto, the rising alert status of Mount Semeru has not yet become a threat to nearby residential areas, because the volcanic ash spewed from the crater has blown towards other areas of Malang`s sub-districts.
"Volcanic ash from Mount Semeru will likely only be blown towards Lumajang in the opposite direction of the five sub-districts, and the areas are still relatively safe," he said.
The Red Cross has also deployed a number of volunteers in five
Malang`s sub-districts, including Ampelgading, Wajak, Tirtoyudo, Poncokusumo and Dampit.
"There are about 20 volunteers in each district who assisted the local district officers in anticipation of the rising Mount Semeru`s alert status," he said.(*)