Help­ing the Evac­uees from Bali's Mount Agung

As­sis­tance comes in many forms for the evac­uees from Mount Agung in north­east­ern Bali.

Indonesia Expat - - Contents - BY CHRISTABEL SASABONE

The In­done­sian gov­ern­ment, lo­cal non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions such as Aksi Cepat Tang­gap (ACT) ( Quick Re­sponse Ac­tion) and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties are rais­ing funds and pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance to the more than 75,000 evac­uees from the sus­pected im­pend­ing vol­canic erup­tion on Mount Agung in Bali, In­done­sia. Presently there are 377 shel­ters lo­cated in nine districts and cities around the is­land. It is es­ti­mated that the num­ber of in­ter­nally dis­placed peo­ple are still in­creas­ing as data col­lec­tion con­tin­ues.

High Alert

Al­though Mount Agung's last erup­tion was more than 50 years ago, the vol­cano is still con­sid­ered ac­tive. Lo­cated 75 kilo­me­tres from Kuta, a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for in­ter­na­tional tourists, the vol­cano is said to have had a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in seis­mic ac­tiv­ity lead­ing up to the evac­u­a­tion.

By Septem­ber 24th, there were al­most 600 earth­quakes as a di­rect re­sult of this ac­tiv­ity. Some of the evac­uees in the vicin­ity could feel the vi­bra­tions un­der­foot; Me­nanga Vil­lage was one such site. Ac­cord­ing to Kus­mayadi, the ACT Disas­ter Emer­gency Re­lief Man­age­ment Team Co­or­di­na­tor, evac­uees were urged not to panic as small, shal­low earth­quakes rat­tled nerves. A high alert was is­sued at the same time the In­done­sian Na­tional Board for Disas­ter Man­age­ment (BNBP) de­clared a 12-kilo­me­tre ex­clu­sion zone around Mount Agung, rais­ing In­done­sia's Vol­cano Ac­tiv­i­ties Warn­ing Sys­tem to ‘four,’ the high­est on the sys­tem. De­spite the de­cree, many peo­ple fur­ther out­side of the ex­clu­sion zone evac­u­ated as a pre­cau­tion.

Help­ing the Evac­uees

Spon­ta­neous sup­port from Ba­li­nese com­mu­ni­ties out­side of the ex­clu­sion zone has proven help­ful. Peo­ple of­fered homes and rooms as shel­ters, and as­sis­tance in the evac­u­a­tion of cat­tle whilst pro­vided tem­po­rary homes for an­i­mals as well as pas­tures for graz­ing.

"We have also dis­trib­uted emer­gency sup­plies such as fast food, min­eral wa­ter and milk to the evac­uees in Me­nanga Vil­lage. The food ne­ces­si­ties which they need so much of," said Kus­mayadi. He added that a pub­lic kitchen was re­quired with the in­creas­ing num­ber of evac­uees each day, as re­ported on ACTNews.

Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo along with gov­ern­ment min­is­ters also paid a visit to some shel­ters on the is­land. In ad­di­tion to the Rp.1 bil­lion from the BNBP (an emer­gency standby op­er­a­tional fund), the In­done­sian Min­istry of So­cial

Af­fairs is also sup­port­ing the high cost of lo­gis­tics and trans­porta­tion. Chil­dren were pro­vided as­sis­tance in the form of shel­ter, school and recre­ational kits by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Cul­ture.

The Min­istry of Pub­lic Works also took part in pro­vid­ing clean wa­ter as well as es­tab­lish­ing toi­lets and wells drilled in some of the ar­eas with large num­bers of evac­uees. Twenty-four-hour health­care ser­vices and mo­bile health posts were made avail­able by the Min­istry of Health’s part­ner­ship with the lo­cal gov­ern­ment's health of­fices and Red Cross teams.

Trav­ellers' No­tice

Bali is one of the world’s most pop­u­lar tourist des­ti­na­tions. Mount Agung’s vol­canic ac­tiv­ity has been re­ported by in­ter­na­tional news agen­cies, which in turn could have sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the tourism in­dus­try.

Ac­cord­ing to Su­topo Purwo Nugroho, Head of In­for­ma­tion and Data of In­done­sian Na­tional Disas­ter Man­age­ment Agency, "Most of the tourist at­trac­tions in Bali are safe from the erup­tion or dan­gers of the erup­tion im­pact.” These ar­eas in­clude: Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Ber­atan Be­dugul Lake, Tirta Em­pul Tem­ple, Bali Sa­fari and Marine Park, Garuda Wisnu Ken­cana, Sa­nur Beach, Tan­jung Benoa, Goa Gajah, Nusa Penida and Kuta Beach.

He also states that Bali’s Ngu­rah Rai In­ter­na­tional Air­port is not cur­rently af­fected by the ac­tiv­ity from Mount Agung. "It is far from Gu­nung Agung... so there is no rea­son to worry about the safety of trav­el­ling in Bali," he added.

As of Septem­ber 28, tourists have not been im­pacted in any mean­ing­ful way.

The lo­cal gov­ern­ment en­sures that it will de­liver early warn­ings and up­dates when there is a threat to com­mu­ni­ties, as re­ported by MetroTV News.

If you would like to help out the evac­uees by do­nat­ing or vol­un­teer­ing, please visit ACT's web­site at www.act.id

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