Ahmad Fikri, Jakarta – Potential danger comes from new movements of the lava dome on top of Mount Merapi, the Geological Agency said. In addition to two currently existing lava domes, the southwest lava dome and the central lava dome, inflation is occurring in the northwestern sector.
"We remind residents, especially those in the northwestern region, to increase their preparedness," the Geological Agency's head of the Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center (BPPTKG), Agus Budi Santoso, said in a release on Sunday, March 12.
Although it is currently calculated to be relatively stable, potential danger from the new movements is considered significant. The deformation, which is measured to have reached 15 meters in the past two years, could be disastrous in the event of a landslide.
"The movement of 15 meters is quite big," Agus said. "We have tried to compare the 2006 and 2010 eruptions; the movements that occurred at the top were less than 4 meters, but it happened in a short period of time."
Agus said the agency is yet unable to provide further explanation about the impact of the lava dome avalanche hazard in the Northwest direction. "What we can say for sure is that there is a potential for danger there, although for now it's not real yet. So, communities in the area still have time to make preparations, carrying out and practicing rescue simulations to be faster," he said.
On Sunday, the intensity of hot clouds pouring down from Mount Merapi immediately decreased a day after an eruption occurred in the form of massive hot clouds sliding. Even so, shallow and deep magma supplies are still occurring, so there is still a possibility that the next series of hot clouds will occur.
"The intensity of the hot cloud that occurred on Saturday was indeed the highest, and even though it is still happening, the intensity is decreasing," Agus Budi Santoso said.
Agus warned of potential hazards after Saturday's eruption, including lava floods triggered by rain. He said that the potential comes from the upstream of the rivers around Merapi due to the deposition of new and old hot clouds. Coupled with the ash rain that occurred.
Over the last two days, hot clouds falling from Mount Merapi have rained ash in a number of areas in the last two days. The dominant distribution is to the West-Northwest and the most distant is thin ash rain in Kalibening Banjarnegara, about 96 kilometers away.
The Geological Agency has yet to change the activity status and recommendations on Mount Merapi, which is 'Alert' or Level III. People are advised not to move around the peak of Mount Merapi, precisely within 7 kilometers southwest towards Kali Krasak, and within 5 kilometers in the southeastern sector.