Water shortage at Bali evacuation centre holding thousands fleeing volcano

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Posted

September 23, 2017 20:34:47

Emergency authorities in Bali are struggling to provide enough clean water and amenities for thousands of evacuees from villages close to the Mount Agung volcano that is threatening to erupt for the first time in more than half a century.

Key points:

  • Balinese authorities issued evacuation notices on Friday
  • Evacuation centres are filling up, with concerns of resources running out
  • Nearly 11,300 villagers are officially evacuated

Thousands of villagers on the Indonesian resort island have been sheltering in sports centres, village halls and with relatives after the volcano’s alert status was raised to the highest level Friday following a “tremendous increase” in seismic activity.

An evacuation centre at the town of Klungkung has already accommodated 3,400 people and more are expected to arrive.

Locals said there was a shortage of clean water and not enough toilet facilities at the site, which is one of two main evacuation centres.

Many of the evacuees are elderly and suffering from stress over the move, and the likely eruption. It last erupted in 1963, killing 1,100 people.

Villager Made Suda said he left overnight with 25 family members to stay in the Klungkung sports centre.

“I feel grief and fear, feel sad about leaving the village and leaving four cows because it’s empty. Everyone has evacuated,” he said.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said no-one should be within 9 kilometres of the crater or within 12 kilometres to the north, northeast, southeast and south-southwest, where lava flows or rapidly moving white-hot ash clouds from an eruption could reach.

Waskita Sutadewa, spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency in Karangasem district around Mount Agung, has said nearly 11,300 villagers have been officially evacuated.

He said the real number of displaced might be two or three times that, since many have voluntarily fled their homes.

‘Worried’ villagers hope eruption not too damaging

Officials have said there is no current danger to people in other parts of Bali, including the areas popular with Australian tourists.

“I hope the eruption is not too big and hopefully not many houses are destroyed,” Wayan Yuniartini, who left his village on Friday night with family members, said.

“I was very worried.

“At 11:30pm we said ‘we have to leave’ and many other people in our area were also leaving.”

In its last eruption in 1963, the 3,031-metre Agung hurled ash as high as 10 kilometres and remained active for about a year.

The mountain, 72 kilometres to the northeast of the tourist hotspot of Kuta, is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

The country of thousands of islands is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

ABC/wires

Topics:

volcanic-eruption,

earth-sciences,

earthquake,

geology,

bali,

indonesia,

asia



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