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Bree’s Beat

Eruption results in emergency evacuation

By Bree Bailey | Contributor

The Indonesian island of Bali is a well known vacation getaway. However, this week, rather than maps for tourists, they are distributing masks for locals. Ash filled the air as Mt. Agung erupted on Saturday. Authorities issued the highest-level warning possible for everyone within the 7.5-mile radius and instructed all in that area to evacuate immediately. Nearly 40,000 locals have already evacuated but over 60,000 still remain in their homes.

“Not all villagers in the dangerous radius are willing to evacuate. Until now there are still many people who remain in their houses,” a disaster agency said in a statement. Many of these people believe they are safe or are unwilling to abandon their livestock, which is their livelihood. However, a 73-year-old local named Nengah Wati remembers the damage that this volcano is capable of. The last time it erupted was in 1963. She was a young woman but still gets emotional at the mere thought of that experience.

Not only is this disaster affecting local villagers, but around 59,000 travelers have been stranded due to 445 flights being canceled. The Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali has been closed since Monday.

Derek Du Chesne is a 30-year-old actor who was struggling to get home to America. “The last two days we couldn’t get out of here,” Chesne said. “Traffic gridlocked, buses lining the streets for evacuation. We couldn’t get through to any of the airlines via phone, been on hold for an hour now, scary stuff.”

This eruption is not even close to being over.

On Monday, a geologist named Mark Tingay stated, “The volcanic eruption has now moved on to the next, more severe, magmatic eruption phase, where highly viscous lava can trap gasses under pressure, potentially leading to an explosion.”

On top of the danger for a more severe eruption, due to the coming rainy season, lava floods are also a lethal threat. Because of this, locals are advised to stay clear of rivers as well. With all that is going on, the worst part for those living close by is the waiting.
Putu Sulsami lives 3 miles from the volcano and states, “If it has to erupt, let it erupt now rather than leaving us in uncertainty. I’ll just accept it if our house is destroyed.”

Pray for protection for those living in Bali as the last eruption resulted in more than 1,700 casualties. Those who lose property will need assistance to get back on their feet and begin to rebuild their lives.

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