The alert level of Bali’s highest volcano Mount Agung has been raised back to the highest level (4), after the volcano emitting thick smoke for several days.  Air traffic has been disrupted both in Bali and Lombok, and the high-risk zone around the volcano has been widened back to 12 kilometers. This has led to the evacuation of tens of thousands locals from the proximity of the volcano. Officials have said that around 100 000 locals need to leave the area, but so far only about 40 000 residents have done so. The main tourist areas such as Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu are far from the “red zone”, as they are located around 70-80 kilometers away from Mount Agung. 

high-risk-area-mount-agung-bali
NATIONAL DISASTER MITIGATION AGENCY via express.co.uk

It is still difficult to predict the progression of the Mount Agung increasing activity even for the experts, but nevertheless it is highly important to be prepared and to get ready for the potential consequences of the eruption. The most important thing is to remain calm, make preparations for the potential ash fall, follow the trustworthy media outlets and authorities, such as Indonesia’s National Board for Disaster Management. 

mount-agung-smoke-bali
Mount Agung spews smoke and ash on Bali on Sunday./ EMILIO KUZMA-FLOYD / @EYES_OF_A_NOMAD / VIA REUTERS

Even though the main tourist areas Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu will most likely not be strongly affected by the potential eruption, both locals and tourists alike in these areas need to be aware of potential ash fall or contaminated water and food, in case there is a significant eruption.

There are couple of things to keep in mind if an ash fall should take place. According to the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network, freshly fallen ash particles can have acid coatings, which may cause irritation to the lungs and eyes. Therefore, it is important to stay indoors with closed windows and doors. It is also important to have following items close at hand:

  • Enough drinking water for at least 72 hours (3-4 liters) per person per day
  • Canned food and dry food
  • Facemask
  • Swimming goggles
  • Blankets
  • Shoes and extra clothes
  • Tape
  • Ziploc bags
  • Candles and batteries
  • First aid kit and basic medicines
  • Plastic wrap (to keep ash out of electronics)
  • A small amount of money

Freshly fallen ash particles can have acid coatings, which may cause irritation to the lungs and eyes. Therefore, it’s important to stay indoors with closed windows and doors.

For occupational protection against volcanic ash, light-weight disposable masks/respirators are appropriate. Bali Buda regularly stocks up on dust masks. Visit one of the shops in your area to purchase!

 

Indonesia is a country with many volcanoes and it is estimated that more than 120 of them are active. Balinese Mount Agung is one of them and it last erupted in 1963. The Head of BIPAS program at Udayana University, I Made Rajeg, still remembers the last eruption and the following ash fall.

Even though over thousand lives were lost and ash fall reached areas outside the red zone, the Balinese still got on with their lives normally and unharmed even as near as 20 kilometers from the red zone, he clarifies.

– I Made Rajeg

The ability to predict eruptions has improved dramatically since then, and thanks to the advanced technology, authorities have been able to act fast.

To buy a face mask in Bali, please visit a Bali Buda shop nearby in your area:
http://www.balibuda.com/contact-us/

 

Sources:

Jakarta Post: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/11/27/bali-raises-volcano-alert-to-highest-level.html

BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42132912

Indonesia’s National Board of Disaster Management: https://www.facebook.com/HumasBNPB/posts/1558825860869384

International Volcanic Health Hazard Network:
http://www.ivhhn.org/images/pamphlets/Health_Guidelines_English_WEB.pdf

For following volcanic activity in Indonesia:
https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/

A lot of useful information can be also found at Facebook group:
Bali volcano possible eruption Agung 2017

 

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