Via The Jakarta Post, a February 21 report: Mount Kelud’s alert status downgraded. Excerpt:
As of Thursday, the alert status of Mount Kelud in East Java, which erupted Thursday night last week, has been downgraded from the highest level, Awas (Danger), to Siaga (Alert), as the volcanic activity has gradually decreased.
Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s Geological Agency head Surono said there was no indication that the volcano would erupt again in the near future.
“I don’t decide the alert status. Mt. Kelud controls that,” Surono said when announcing the new alert status at the Grahadi State Building in Surabaya.
Also present during the announcement were National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head Syamsul Maarif, East Java Governor Soekarwo, Deputy Governor Saifullah Yusuf, East Java Police Chief Insp. Gen. Unggung Cahyono and Military Regional V/Brawijaya Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Asmai.
Umar Rosadi of the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) said under the new alert status the exclusion zone for Kelud had also been reduced from 10 kilometers to five kilometers.
“Evacuees whose houses are located outside the exclusion zone can return home,” Umar said.
Kediri Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Adi Suwignyo said that even before the alert status was downgraded, thousands of evacuees had already returned home.
“As of Wednesday evening the total number of evacuees still housed in shelters was 28,492,” said Adi.
Adi added that 8,622 houses in Kediri were severely damaged, with 5,426 moderately damaged and 5,088 with minimal damage.
Malang Regent Rendra Kresna said at least 3,782 houses in three districts Kasembon, Ngantang and Pujon had been damaged, with total losses predicted to reach Rp 392 billion (US$33.1 million).
For the whole East Java province, the damage bill was expected to reach Rp 1.2 trillion, with agricultural industries the worst hit, according to the Mt. Kelud Disaster Mitigation chairman Ahmad Sukardi.