Evacuation Starts as Volcano Turns Active in Bali

Mount Agung, an active volcano located on the resort island of Bali that has been placed on alert level 3 following recent seismic activity, is seen from Mataram on nearby Lombok island, Indonesia, on Thursday, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. (Antara Foto/Ahmad Subaidi/via Reuters)

An alert status has been declared for the Gunung Agung volcano in Bali following an increase in volcanic activity that has forced thousands of local residents to evacuate, wrote earlier today Indonesia News Agency Antara.

Since mid-August, the Gunung Agung volcano has shown a rise in volcanic activity but then it declined, and now it is increasing again.

“Until Wednesday night, more than one thousand people had been evacuated to various locations,” local National Disaster Management Agency Public Relations spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho remarked here on Friday. On Wednesday, the Geological Disaster Mitigation and Volcanology Center has raised the status of Mt Agung from alert to vigilant, or level 3.

Mr. Nugroho said the people voluntarily fled to the neighbouring areas of Buleleng, Klungkung, and Karangasem, as the locations were considered safe. The Mt Agung monitoring post in Rendang Village has recorded more than 400 volcanic tremors over the last 24 hours. A total of 6,000 people have already been evacuated.

People, including tourists, are not allowed to enter areas within a 7.5-kilometer radius of the mounts crater, or at an elevation of 950 meters above sea level, particularly in the north, south, southwest, and southeast areas.

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika affirmed that the government is prepared to face any eventualities in the face of Gunung Agung possibly erupting and has readied an evacuation post, refugee camp, and security measures. “We can report to the citizens of Bali and internationally that we are ready to face the worst, even though we pray that it never happens,” the governor said.

Recording of volcano activity since 1800 highlight that Mount Agung had experienced mega eruptions four times in recent history: They took place in 1808, 1823, 1843, and for the last time in 1963.  During the last eruption, the volcano killed over 1,100 people.

Bali Airport so far remains open as it is located far away from the volcano activity area. No flight has been cancelled so far.

(Source: ANTARA)