Indonesia: Semeru Volcano Eruption Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRID023


A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Lumajang District, East Java Province

On Saturday, 4 December 2021, at 14.50 Western Indonesia Time (Waktu Indonesia Barat – WIB (GMT+7)), Mount Semeru Observation Post at Gunung Sawur Post reported flood lava vibrations or hot cloud avalanches of Mount Semeru, located on the border of Lumajang and Malang districts in East Java Province. The avalanches recorded with maximum amplitude of 20 millimetres – 25 millimetres Seismographs for 5160 seconds. Hot and volcanic ashes blown towards Southwest from the crater. Mount Semeru was at alert level 2 (advisory, waspada) prior to the lava vibrations and still remains at level 2. As of 9 December 2021, Centre of Volcanic and Geology Disaster Mitigation or Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), reported 9 eruptions following the main eruption on Saturday with maximum amplitude ranging from 22-37 mm, occurring between 200-240 seconds.

Centre of Vulcanology and Geology Disaster Mitigation (Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi or PVMBG) instructed the communities to stay clear of a 5-kilometre radius around Mount Semeru and to stay vigilant for cold-lava flows especially around the river-basin flowing from Mount Semeru. Based on observations, hot avalanches have stopped due to rain around the peak of Mount Semeru’s lava dome. PVMBG has warned the public of the dangers of exposure to volcanic materials, such as eye injuries, suffocation, and respiratory problems. As of 9 December 2021, 3 districts in East Java Province namely Lumajang district, Malang district and Blitar district have been affected by the hot ash and lava avalanches. Causing injuries to 144 people (32 severely injured and 82 mildly injured, 9 people missing, 43 fatalities and displacing 6,586 people to 125 evacuation location). Most of the evacuation centres are established in open spaces while some of the offices of public authorities and community centres are also used as evacuation centres. All the evacuation centres are managed by BPBD. The National Water Company is assigned to provide potable water. Ministry of Public Work and Housing set up emergency latrines, Ministry of health with the support from local community health centre is providing health services and referral services and Field kitchen made available by Ministry of Social Affairs at each of the evacuation centre. Various non-governmental organizations, and community-based organizations also providing services and in-kind donations at the evacuation centres. The table below provides further details regarding the evacuation centres.

BNPB recorded 2,970-unit houses, 31 public facilities, 42 schools, 1 health facilities, 12 praying houses and 1 bridge damaged by the hot ashes and avalanches. Communities also lost their livestock such as cow, goat and chickens and agricultural stock such as rice, corn and vegetables. Heavy rainfall hampered the evacuation, search, and rescue efforts for the first 2 days after the eruption. There was 1 mining location with 8 people isolated due to the mud and debris cutoff road access to the area. However, all isolated people cobe rescued on 7 December 2021, and all reported save and well.

Responding to the situation, Lumajang District government has declared a disaster emergency alert (Tanggap Darurat Bencana) within its administrative area for 1-month starting from 4 December 2021 to 3 January 2022 based on Decree Number 188.45/525/427.12/2021. The Government of Indonesia through provincial ministries, police and military services have responded to the situation have dispatched logistical support and aid to East Java. Various individual donors, non-government and community-based organizations are providing services at the evacuation zone. Immediate and logistical needs are covered and sufficient through the 1-month emergency phase. BNPB has instructed all humanitarian actors and stakeholders to start planning for the post-emergency phase and preparedness for another eruption. Thus far, there are no active COVID-19 cases in Lumajang, Malang and Blitar districts. However, COVID-19 still poses a risk considering there are 30 active cases and 2 fatalities across East Java province as of 9 December 2021.