State of Emergency Declared in Bali

Mount Agung volcano spews smoke on Bali on Thursday. (BAY ISMOYO / AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika has issued a letter declaring a state of emergency from September 29 to October 12 to handle the evacuees of Mount Agung. However, it is more a technical step than a warning to an imminent eruption.

“Based on the letter, the provincial, district, and municipal governments in Bali need to take steps to provide shelters to the evacuees and adequately meet their basic needs,” declared Dewa Gede Mahendra Putra, Bali provincial government spokesman on Monday.

The state of emergency can be extended or reduced based on the need, he explained. The letter served as a basis for the local apparatuses to disburse funds to meet the evacuees needs.

There are several underlying factors behind the issuance of the Governor’s letter dated September 29, 2017, one of them being a letter from the chief of the Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center (PVMBG) of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, he revealed. In the PVMBG letter, the institution highlights that it has raised the alert status for the volcano from level III, or Watch, to level IV, or Warning.

In response to the boards recommendations, the local authorities have evacuated the residents from the danger zone to safer areas. “The Governor also inspected camps for evacuees in the districts of Karangasem, Buleleng, and Kabupaten Klungkung,” he indicated.

Eruption and smoke from Mount Sinabung in Sumatra, last Wednesday.

Experts recorded a slight decrease in tremors. The PVMBG indicated on Monday that volcanic activities have fallen in recent days. “Based on the record of the monitoring post, the number of tremors have dropped since two days ago,” Mr Gede Suantika, who heads the PVMBG Volcanology Mitigation division, told Antara news.

As of Monday afternoon (Oct 2), the number of evacuees accommodated in eight districts and a municipality in Bali had reached 139,945. The figure fell slightly from more than 144,000 recorded earlier, as some of the evacuees living outside the disaster-prone areas had returned home.

Contingency plans have also been set up to divert aircraft in case of an eruption. So far, authorities have indicated that tourists are still safe in the southern part of the island, which is located 75 km away from the volcano area.

Meanwhile, another volcano  erupted last week. Mount Sinabung in Northern Sumatra, some 2,000 km West of Bali. Mount Sinabung is one of the 34 active volcanoes on the island of Sumatra. It has erupted multiple times in recent years, killing 16 in 2014 and six in 2016.

(Source: ANTARA)