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Published On: Sat, Oct 7th, 2017

Indonesia extended emergency alert status of Mount Agung in Bali until October 16

nsnbc : Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has extended the emergency alert status of Mount Agung in Bali until October 16, due to its continued high volcanic and seismic activity.

Mount Agung_Bali_Indonesia “Until today, on average, its activity has not yet dropped but has only tended to rise,” BNPB chief, Willem Rampangilie, said at the command post of Mount Agung emergency management here on Thursday. An emergency status was imposed on September 22, which was raised to the highest Alert Level IV, following the mount’s significantly increased volcanic activity.

Rampangilie stated that the decision to extend the emergency alert status was made after BNPB discussed the situation with the Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency (PVMBG), Karangasem district administration, and other related offices. “We are facing uncertainty. This is one of the greatest challenges, but we have been ready to face even the worst scenario,” he asserted.

Rampangilie has appealed to people living outside the current evacuation zone involving 28 villages to return home as their areas were not located within the hazard zone. However, many are afraid the authorities would feel pressured to lift evacuation orders prematurely thus putting residents at risk while others feel authorities need to also be concerned about the downsides associated with evacuation.

Mt Agung_Bali_Indonesia_Sep 2017The fact of the matter is that volcanology and seismology – despite all advances in these sciences – cannot accurately forecast volcanic or seismic events. Evacuation orders are therefore often based as much on economic and ethical factors as they are based on science. It’s a quagmire for the experts as much as it is a quagmire for politicians, administrators and those affected by potential disaster.

Not unsurprisingly, the number of people coming to the evacuation centers has continued to increase despite calls for those outside hazard zones to return home. People are worried and afraid and people have a healthy degree of skepticism when it comes to political leaders telling them to return home. Most people know that nobody really can know whether or not it is safe to return.

According to BNPBs latest data, the number of evacuees has reached 150,109 spreading in 420 locations in nine districts/cities in Bali. The hike in the number of evacuees was because of psychological factors and therefore “we have been conducting counseling to make then understand the real situation,” Willem noted, without explaining what exactly he meant with psychological factors and which of these “psychological factors” are based on experts inability to make accurate forecasts.

F/AK – nsnbc 07.10.2017

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