Assistance comes in many forms for the evacuees from Mount Agung in northeastern Bali.
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.
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 24, 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.
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 a 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 https://act.id/
Featured image by Safe Travel.