17.02.2014 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Mount Kelud’s Eruption impacted on education and threatens Borobudur and Prambanan Temple

©Ministry of Education and Culture/Marsis Sutopo

On Thursday 13 February 2014 at around 2250hrs, Mount Kelud located in Kediri Regency, East Java Province, erupted. The Government of Indonesia requested the Head of the National Agency for Disaster Mitigation (BNPB) to handle the situation and help evacuate residents living within a 10 km radius of the volcano. So far the volcano has affected over 200,000 people living in the Blitar, Kediri and Malang Regencies of East Java with the volcanic ash impacting millions more across the island of Java. At the moment 66,000 people are reported displaced from their homes in Kediri Regency. There are no reports of casualties. Major airports in the affected area are closed.

Currently there are two volcanos with alert level 4: Mt. Sinabung (since 24 November 2013) and Mt. Kelud (since 13 February 2014); and three volcanos with alert level 3: Mt. Karangetang (since 3 September 2013), Mt. Rokatenda (since 13 October 2012), and Mt. Lokon (since 24 July 2011).

Mt Kelud has erupted 25 times from the year 1,000 to 2007 leaving tens of thousands of people dead.

The last eruption of the mountain was recorded in 2007 but it was effusive in character causing the creation of a new mountain.


Impacts on Cultural Heritage

©Ministry of Education and Culture/Trihartono

The volcanic eruption is posing a threat to the World Heritage Sites of Prambanan and Borobudur Temple Compounds located in the Special Region of Yogyakarta and the region of Central Java respectively. The Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) has already undertaken a preliminary assessment of the sites and found a 3-5 mm layer of volcanic ash covering the Borobudur Temple anda 1 cm layer blanketing the Prambanan Temple. The MoEC immediately responded to the disaster by closing the sites to the public and initiating their disaster emergency response procedures.

©Ministry of Education and Culture/Trihartono

The disaster has the potential to badly damage both sites as well as affect the communities living around them: the volcanic ash may have acidic properties that could erode the temples’ stone reliefs; the ash has increased likelihood of damaging the temples’ drainage systems if it is not cleaned quickly; and any long term closure of the temples will affect local communities reliant on tourism for their livelihoods. The experiences gained and capacities built from the joint UNESCO-MoEC response to the 2010 Mt. Merapi eruption have been put into practice in the early response to the current eruption (incl. immediate closing of sites, covering of sensitive parts such as stupas and terrasses).

©Ministry of Education and Culture/Marsis Sutopo

Responding to this disaster, the MoEC and UNESCO have been in close contact and are ready to begin the emergency actions along with other key stakeholders including PT. Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan dan Ratu Boko (PT.Taman), local government, and community members living around the World Heritage sites.  The experiences gained and capacities built from the joint UNESCO-MoEC response to the 2010 Mt. Merapi eruption have been put into practice in the early response to the current eruption (incl. immediate closing of sites, covering of sensitive parts such as stupas and terrasses).

Already the following necessary actions have been identified:

  • Establish an emergency response taskforce including the MoEC, PT Taman, community representatives and UNESCO;
  • Undertake an immediate detailed damage assessment of the sites with recommendations on necessary actions;
  • Execute an emergency cleaning operation of the temples and surrounding areas with full participation of the local community and in accordance with best practice conservation standards;
  • Procure the necessary equipment for cleaning the ash (brooms, dust pans, water pumps, plastic sheets, vacuum cleaners, generators, etc.);
  • Develop an awareness campaign via local and international media to ensure that the temples and surrounding communities can recover as quickly as possible.

Contact Information

UNESCO Office, Jakarta
Mr. Masanori Nagaoka
Head of Culture Unit
Tel: (+62-21) 739 9818 ext 826
Email: m.nagaoka@unesco.org

Ministry of Education and Culture

Mr Harry Widianto
Directorate for Cultural Heritage Preservation and Museums
Phone:  +62-21-8310720

 

Impacts on Education Sector

The volcanic ash from this eruption shrouded a large swath of East and Central Java. The district level of the Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) has closed all schools in Blitar, Kediri, and Malang, areas in closest proximity to the volcanic eruption. In addition, the MoEC has closed all schools in Yogyakarta and Surakarta and has provided masks for students in several other areas also affected. In total 51,157 schools in Central and East Java might be affected.

The disaster has possible impact on the health of communities living around thevolcano. The most common cause of death from a volcano is suffocation with additional health threats from: floods, mudslides, power outages, drinking water contamination, and wildfires. Further health concerns include: infectious disease, respiratory illness, burns, injuries from falls, and vehicle accidents related to the slippery, hazy conditions caused by ash.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Health has given four recommendations to limit possible health hazards related to the eruption:

  • to limit going out from home if not needed,
  • to observe the ventilation,
  • to use masks and take any other necessary action to avoid respiratory diseases,
  • to close wells to prevent pollution to water that will be consumed later.


Contact Information

UNESCO Office, Jakarta

Mee Young Choi
Head of Education Unit
UNESCO Office, Jakarta
Tel: (+62-21) 739 9818 ext 836
Email: my.choi@unesco.org




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