Home Dieng Less Shaky, but Still Unsafe From Toxic Gas Seismic activity at Mount Dieng in Central Java has calmed down, but officials are not lowering its alert level as the volcano continues to spew dangerous amounts of toxic gas.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said the level of carbon dioxide in the air at Timbang crater was 1.54 percent on Sunday, up from 1.18 percent the previous day.
A percentage greater than 0.5 is dangerous for humans. Experts have said that the gas, if inhaled in large amounts, could be fatal.
Officials first raised the alert on Dieng at the end of May from level 2 to level 3, which meant the volcano was showing signs of an imminent eruption. A state of emergency was declared and more than a thousand residents were ordered to evacuate.
Sutopo said on Sunday that the BNPB had given the local administration Rp 250 million ($29,000) to buy food for more than 1,000 evacuees who were living in temporary shelters in Batur, Pejawaran, Wanayasa and Karangkobar.
All the residents have been instructed to remain at the shelters and people are prohibited from entering a zone within a one kilometer radius of the crater.
However, some residents have reportedly ignored the warnings and returned to their homes during the day to take care of their livestock and plantations. “They only come back to the shelter at night,” Sutopo said.
He also said officials had installed five new earthquake detectors, which can not only monitor ground movement but also the release of toxic gases from below. It was reported on Friday that earthquake detectors installed that day had been stolen.
Surono, head of the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency (PVMBG), told Antara state news agency on Sunday that even though tremors were becoming less frequent, people living near the volcano needed to stay alert because there was still a possibility that Dieng could erupt.
In 1979, carbon dioxide from Timbang crater, one of the most active among the volcano’s six craters, killed 149 people. During the rainy season, the greenhouse gas stays close to the surface of the earth, making it deadlier.
Dieng Plateau, where the volcano is located, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central Java.
The area is the site of eight small Hindu temples dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries. It also draws tourists because of its sulfur lakes.
Earlier, Winarno Sudjas, the marketing director at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said that soon after reports were published that the volcano was emitting poisonous gases, tourist traffic to the area dropped by 70 percent from the average 1,500 visitors per day.
Quoted from :http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/indonesia/dieng-less-shaky-but-still-unsafe-from-toxic-gas-bnpb/445235