Bali’s Mount Agung volcano is relatively calm at the moment, but warnings for residents and travelers remain. Some people in the danger zone, however, are going about their days as if everything is normal.
CGTN’s Silkina Ahluwalia reports.
For the past few months, Bali’s highest volcano has been increasingly active, causing hundreds of tremors and releasing thick smoke every day. Authorities have established an exclusion zone extending 10 kilometers from the top of the crater, but Kardi Yasa, who lives just three kilometers away in the village of Nawakerti, refuses to leave.
“I still continue with my normal routine here every day. I need to work,” he said. “But at night I move to my grandfather’s house. It is still considered the danger zone, but at least I move a bit further away from the volcano.”
Yasa is just one out of 4,300 residents who live in this area considered to be the ‘red zone.’
The last time Mount Agung erupted in 1963, nearly 2,000 people died. But the area where Yasa lives was not heavily affected. That’s part of the reason why 90 percent of the residents living there today are not willing to evacuate. They believe if an explosion were to happen, their families and homes would be safe.
For the people of Nawakerti, staying alongside their families and jobs remains the most important priority. Wayan Putu is the head of the village. He says residents are free to evacuate independently and at their own will.
“This village was only covered in volcanic ash. It wasn’t anything serious,” village head I Wayan Putu said, referring to the ’63 eruption. “We had an emergency alert to evacuate a few days ago but out of 4,000 residents, only around 200 of them evacuated.”
The National Disaster Mitigation agency has evacuated 100,000 people from 22 villages in total, and set up evacuation camps in 220 different locations across Bali. The numbers are expected to increase depending on Mount Agung’s activity. The volcano’s alert level remains at a level 4, which is the highest possible level.