Jakarta. The Indonesian weather office has issued an advisory for residents of Papua to remain alert of a potential earthquake or tsunami, after several tremors in the province over the past few days.
"There are several earthquake-prone districts: Sarmi, Biak, Serui, Nabire and Jayapura, so for residents living in those areas, we advise them to be cautious when an earthquake occurs, and to be ready for evacuation," Petrus Demon Sili, head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Jayapura's fifth district, was quoted as saying by Suara Pembaruan on Monday.
As these areas are on flat terrain and located close to the sea, there are limited options to seek higher ground, should disaster strike, he added.
"These districts could potentially be struck not only by a local tsunami, but also a regional one. This happened during the 2011 Japan tsunami, which also impacted Jayapura," Petrus noted.
Papua experienced several earthquakes over the past few days. Sarmi district recorded a magnitude-5.7 quake on Friday, followed by a magnitude-4.7 quake that hit Jayapura on Sunday.
Indonesia is still grappling with the aftermath of deadly disasters in Central Sulawesi and West Nusa Tenggara, which together claimed the lives of nearly 2,700 people.
The impact of those disasters has raised concern over Indonesia's disaster preparedness.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is regularly hit by earthquakes, but the extent of the damage in the earthquake and tsunami in Palu and Donggala in Central Sulawesi revealed substantial shortcomings in the country's early warning system and disaster mitigation efforts, mostly due to insufficient funding.
The BMKG in Jayapura said it was working closely with the district government to educate citizens on disaster preparedness, including through simulations.
"We are working with the government to train the people so that they can save themselves through self-evacuation in the event of a disaster," Petrus said.