News of Mount Agung’s “imminent eruption” has spread quickly around the world, whilst those on the island wait with calm but fearful anticipation. However, with evacuations at their highest level now in the area, refugees are the immediate focus for communities in Bali.
A sleepy Mount Agung, seemingly peaceful
Magma rising through the rocks of the mountain has caused hundreds of tremors in the surrounding vicinity (some reported feeling faint tremors in Ubud) – one of the signs that an eruption could be near. Animals like snakes and monkeys have been reported feeling from the mountain, fearful of the growing tremors.
With such telling signs, local authorities have taken appropriate action and raised the highest alert as of Friday, 22 September 2017. Now the evacuation zone has reached a 12km radius and 48,500+ people have been evacuated from their homes.
Gunung Agung Refugees, photos provided by East Bali Poverty Project
Are the evacuations necessary?
Judging from the last Mount Agung eruption in 1963 – a VEI 5 eruption which caused the deaths of 1100 people, all from deadly pyroclastic flows, volcanic bombs and some effects of heavy ash cloud – removing people from dangerous areas is the best way to mitigate and/or reduce a death toll from a potential eruption. Of course, evacuations can be controversial as there is a likelihood an eruption does not occur – an outcome everyone in Bali is hoping for.
Whilst certainly a smart safety precaution it still means thousand of people are away from their homes, their farms, livestock, etc. and are now living in tent-towns, make-shift shelters and communal halls in surrounding areas from Klungkung, to North Bali.
Whilst the mountain rumbles indecisively, people on the island have turned their focus on caring for the evacuees who are left with dwindling supplies in their new shelters. Luckily for them, many, many groups, communities and volunteers are lending a hand.
EBPP teacher Gede Sujana keeps some sheltered children informed and entertained, photo provided by East Bali Poverty Project
How can you help?
One such group helping on the ground now is The East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP), a reputable charitable organisation here in Bali that works on the slopes of the mountain. They are collecting donations to buy supplies for their refugees camps and have an operational field team. Their statement:-
“Our complete village was evacuated and now in the north coast refugee camp, there are more than 20,000 refugees [23 September]. Your help is urgently needed to help us to help them by purchasing essential supplies, especially for children, elderly, sick & disabled, and pregnant women.
The EBPP team are in North Bali and urgently need supplies: bottled water, staple foods(rice, egg, noodles, etc), baby foods & diapers, formula milk, first aid supplies, hygiene kits, smog masks, etc.”
You can help them and donate to their cause through three different means:
– Wire transfer:
Bank BNI, A/c name: Yayasan Ekoturisme Indonesia; A/c number: 0055 295 647; Swift code: BNI NI DJA RNN
– PayPal a/c: firstname.lastname@example.org; a/c name: Yayasan Ekoturisme Indonesia
– Donate to their crowdfunding page: www.en.kitabisa.com/mtagung
There are other organisations and groups out there helping the cause, but this is one established organisation that you can help right now. This is for those looking for a way to help out from around the world, or even right here in Bali.
More details can be found at www.eastbalipovertyproject.org