Bromo Slows but Still Red Alert

Jakarta. After erupting for several days, prompting the government’s highest volcano alert status, Mount Bromo has finally started to simmer down, a volcanologist confirmed on Tuesday.

“There are many indications that Bromo’s activity is becoming relatively calm,” Gede Suantika, the head of the Bromo emergency response team at the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency (PVMBG), told the Jakarta Globe.

Suantika reported that on Monday Mount Bromo was still spewing thick smoke and volcanic ash up as high as 800 meters, but by Tuesday the smoke and volcanic ash only reached 200 to 300 meters from the peak, and had thinned compared to previous days.

He said that tremors around the base of the mountain had also decreased significantly.

However, he said Mount Bromo was still on high alert, and the public should keep a safe three kilometer radius from the crater.

“Although it appears to not be as dangerous as it was several days ago, Bromo remains at the same warning level,” he said.

“We will still monitor the volcanic activity for the next few days. Let’s stay alert.”

Mount Bromo’s eruption forced the closure of a small airport in Malang, some 25 kilometers away, due to the volcanic ash carried by the wind.

The 2,330-meter-high volcano is a popular tourist destination that straddles the districts of Probolinggo, Pasuruan, Lumajang and Malang in East Java.

Subur, head of operations for the Bromo Semeru National Park, said there had been a marked increase in the number of visitors to the park since the alert status for the volcano was raised to its highest level last week.

Coordinating minister for people’s welfare Agung Laksono told Antara news agency that the state would compensate for any loss suffered by the residents living near Bromo.

Agung said the eruption of Mount Bromo had destroyed the wealth of the people living near the mountain, so as in the case of Mount Merapi in Central Java, the government would pay to compensate for the damage.

He would not elaborate on how or when compensation will be arranged.

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