Bali wants to re­or­ga­nize evac­uees

The Jakarta Post - - HEADLINES - Ni Ko­mang Er­viani and Panca Nu­graha

Bali au­thor­i­ties plan to re­or­ga­nize evac­uees from vil­lages around Mount Agung as the num­ber of dis­placed vil­lagers ex­ceeds the ex­pected num­ber, de­spite the Cen­ter for Vol­canol­ogy and Ge­o­log­i­cal Hazard Mit­i­ga­tion (PVMBG) say­ing that an erup­tion is more likely to hap­pen than not.

As of Fri­day, au­thor­i­ties had recorded 144,389 evac­uees tak­ing shel­ter in 475 spots and camps set up across the prov­ince. That is al­most twice the num­ber of vil­lagers liv­ing in the ex­clu­sion zone, which ex­tends 12 kilo­me­ters from Mt. Agung.

“Ac­tu­ally, in the dis­as­ter map, out of 78 vil­lages in Karangasem, only 27 are within the ex­clu­sion zone. There are around 70,000 peo­ple liv­ing there,” Bali Gover­nor Made Mangku Pastika said on Fri­day af­ter a meet­ing to dis­cuss ef­forts to pre­pare for an erup­tion of the vol­cano.

“This means that many of the evac­uees come from vil­lages that would ac­tu­ally be safe if the vol­cano erupts.”

Held in Karangasem’s Tanah Ampo, the meet­ing was also at­tended by PVMBG head Kas­bani, Na­tional Dis­as­ter Mit­i­ga­tion Agency (BNPB) head Willem Ram­pangilei, Karangasem Re­gent Ida Ayu Mas Su­mantri and some other re­lated of­fi­cials.

The meet­ing agreed to call on these evac­uees to re­turn to their home, with Pastika as­sur­ing that their vil­lages would be safe.

“This is our next task: find­ing those peo­ple that come from safe ar­eas, and ask­ing them to re­turn to their vil­lages,” Pastika said, say­ing that these peo­ple have in­stead put un­nec­es­sary bur­den on the shel­ters.

The ex­clu­sion zone, which in­cludes Pura Be­sakih, Bali’s most sa­cred Hindu tem­ple lo­cated on the slopes of the moun­tain, is based on the last time the vol­cano erupted in 1963.

Cit­ing some in­di­ca­tors recorded by its mon­i­tor­ing post in Ren­dang vil­lage, in­clud­ing the high num­ber of vol­canic earth­quakes, PVMBG head Kas­bani said the prob­a­bil­ity of an erup­tion was higher than the prob­a­bil­ity of no erup­tion.

But the prob­a­bil­ity may change at any time, and the PVMBG has said it can­not de­ter­mine the time and size of any fu­ture erup­tion.

“How­ever, we will is­sue warn­ings when the con­di­tions change and an erup­tion is more cer­tain,” Kas­bani said.

Kas­bani de­clared that it was still safe to travel to Bali, although vis­i­tors should not en­ter the re­stricted ar­eas near the vol­cano.

Mean­while, at least 164 peo­ple, or 60 fam­i­lies, from Karangasem re­gency in Bali have en­tered Lom­bok Is­land in neigh­bor­ing West Nusa Teng­gara (NTB) to stay in the houses of their re­spec­tive rel­a­tives in Mataram and West Lom­bok, ac­cord­ing to NTB Dis­as­ter Mit­i­ga­tion Agency (BPBD) head Mo­ham­mad Rum.

JP/Zul Trio Ang­gono

Di­vine in­ter­ven­tion: Mus­lims re­cite du’a (per­sonal sup­pli­ca­tions) at a mosque in Gel­gel vil­lage, Klungkung, Bali, on Fri­day to pray for safety amid in­creas­ing seis­mic ac­tiv­ity at Mount Agung.

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