Mount Sinabung eruption is still a local/regional disaster."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Mount Sinabung Eruption of Karo District, North Sumatra cannot yet be declared as a national disaster, stated the spokesperson of The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) on Tuesday.

"According to the Presidential Decree (PP) draft, a disaster can be categorized as a national disaster if it causes more than 500 deaths, more than Rp1 trillion worth of loss and affects several districts in more than one province such that the provincial and district administration cannot mitigate the disaster," explained Head of Data and Information Center of BNPB Sutopo Purwo Nugroho though a statement issued here on Tuesday.

There are some indicators to declare the level of disaster according to Law No.24/2007 article 7 (2) on Disaster Mitigation, which are, the number of victims, material loss, infrastructure loss, area coverage affected by the disaster and the impact on the social economy.

"Mount Sinabung eruption is still a local/regional disaster. A Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has not yet been established in Karo District and the mitigation had not been optimal at the earlier stage, the budget of the North Sumatras BPBD being very limited," Nugroho explained.

The government has spent at least Rp43 billion for Mount Sinabung disaster mitigation since September 2013.

A national disaster status is declared by the President through a Presidential Decree, while regional disaster is declared by the Governor or the District Head.

However, the government and the respective institutions havent agreed in establishing the President Decree on Disaster Level and Status Determination.

The President Decree draft stated that a disaster is a regional one if it has less than 100 deaths and Rp1 billion worth of loss in less than 10 square km area, while it's a provincial disaster if it has less than 500 deaths and less than Rp1 trillion worth of loss in more than one affected district. All of the administration of the affected area is still capable of handling the disaster.

Although 95 percent of the aids for the Sinabung disaster were from the central government, the Karo District and North Sumatra Administration are still capable of conducting the government in the region. The disaster did not paralyze the local administration, Nugroho pointed out.

According to Nugroho, in Indonesia, there was just one occasion when the President had declared a national disaster status, during the 2004s tsunami disaster in Aceh.

There were more than 180 thousand dead and missing victims at that time. The tsunami had caused more than Rp45 trillion worth of loss and crippled the local administration.

Previously on Saturday (Feb. 1), fifteen villagers were killed by the hot clouds spewed by Mount Sinabung.

The victims were burnt by volcanic debris while returning to their homes in Sukameriah Village, 2.7 km from Mount Sinabungs peak.

Meanwhile, the Volcanology and Geology Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) stated that no significant activity took place on Mount Sinabung, allowing some villagers to return home, but only those living outside of the five kilometer radius from the peak were allowed to return to their villages.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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