Before you start to panic about a cancelled holiday or the safety of a family member on the island, here’s what to do – and what not to do – in the face of the Mount Agung eruption.
You’ve seen the beautiful and humbling photos of the Gunung Agung eruption, there have been airport closures, and lots of questions about what will happen after the volcano erupts. Since Monday morning, the continuous eruptions have intensified with the status of the volcano raised from Alert (Level 3) to Awas (Level 4), with people within 10km of the volcano urged to evacuate.
We’ve all heard the saddening facts that the last time Mount Agung blew, more than 1000 people were tragically killed. Thankfully, so far no one has been injured or killed, and other than the current closure of Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport, which will remain closed until 29 November, life for tourists on the island is continuing as normal.
Here are the dos and don’ts of what to do – and what not to do – in the face of Mount Agung’s eruption.
Do keep up-to-date with the current status of Mount Agung and Ngurah Rai International Airport from reputable sources. You can check the flight status of arrivals and departures here, whilst regular updates from local news can be found here.
Don’t automatically cancel your Bali holiday. The “danger zone” is far from Bali’s main tourist hubs [Seminyak, Ubud, Canggu and Uluwatu are all over 70kms from the volcano] and the eruption has not caused any lava flow – simply a large cloud of smoke and ash that is expected to settle soon. You can view the potential affected areas should lava flow, here.
Do check with your airline and travel insurance company to see what is – and is not – covered should your flight be cancelled. Whilst many travel insurance companies won’t honour “Acts of God”, some will offer compensation, and airlines like KLM are offering alternative travel plans and complimentary accommodation to those who have been disrupted. Furthermore, if your Bali holiday was booked before Mount Agung warnings were issued, then you should be completely covered. You can find out more here.
Don’t believe fake news. Whilst the international media uses words like “chaos”, “danger” and “explosive”, the reality here on the island is quite the opposite. Of course, authorities are taking the necessary precautions to keep everyone in the surrounding areas safe [thousands of local Balinese within 10km of Mount Agung have been evacuated] however, the tourist neighbourhoods are not affected. Oh, and that shocking photo that looks like fire and lava? Yup, that was just the warm glow of sunrise, not a nearing apocalypse. Tribun Bali is our trusted local news company that’s keeping things real – keep your eyes on their site for accurate information.
Do stay vigilant. Whilst the recent eruption was relatively minor and the ash cloud should clear within a week, a second eruption is of course a possibility, so we should always stay humble. The Geological agency head, Kasbani, has said “We don’t expect a big eruption but we have to stay alert and anticipate”. Sounds like good advice to us!
Don’t scribble Bali off of your travel bucket list. Despite what many media channels are suggesting, Bali is still safe and will remain that way once Mount Agung decides to slip into her peaceful slumber once again. The beautiful Balinese people are still laying out their offerings, the stunning beaches are still glistening, and the bars, cafes and beach clubs are still pumping. So, stay safe Honeys, and we’ll see you on the island soon!
Pssst! If you’d like to donate to help the evacuees of Mount Agung, we suggest the East Bali Poverty Project who are delivering supplies to refugees. Go to www.eastbalipovertyproject.org for details.