Expats on Bali urge tourists to heed volcano warnings

Published:  29 Sep at 6 PM
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As Mount Agung continues to spew smoke and ash, expats living on Bali are concerned tourists are not taking notice of international travel warnings.

Even although some 144,000 residents have been evacuated from locations close to Mount Agung, tourists are still arriving in droves, causing real concern amongst expats that they’re simply not aware of the increasing danger. The Bali government’s tourism office as well as the Australian authorities have been issuing warnings since last week with, it seems, little effect on tourists determined to have their holiday.

One Australian expat is making her views known in no uncertain manner, slamming tourist arrivals and demanding they wake up to the dangers of being anywhere near the increasingly active volcano. She believes arrivals clearly don’t understand the deadly dangers of an eruption, the results of which could kill in minutes as well as cover the island with clouds of hot ash. Locals believe the mountain is angry, with one village priest blaming tourists having sex on its slopes for its awakening.

In an attempt to open reluctant tourist eyes to the reality of the danger, she said Mount Agung’s last eruption killed as many as 1,400 people, adding it may have been many more as there were villages tucked away in the mountains where people had no official documents so could not be counted in the total of deaths. The UK Foreign Office is now warning of severe disruption to flights to and from Bali and is urging passengers to check their travel insurance and keep an eye on the situation.

Bali authorities are working hard to evacuate all those within the immediate danger zone, but some communities are refusing to leave their homes and cattle in spite of the warnings. An American expats told reporters she believes it’s either sheer stubbornness or a lack of awareness of the consequences of an eruption. Experts are warning about the likelihood of pyroclastic flows – massive clouds of red-hot gas moving at incredible speeds and killing every living thing in their path.

To make matters worse, Mount Sinabung, another large Indonesian volcano on Sumatra, erupted yesterday, sending massive clouds of smoke and ash into the sky. The mountain is located close to the Lake Toba underground super-volcano similar to the one under America’s Yellowstone National Park, with volcanologists warning its eruption would threaten the entire world. At present, seismic activity along much of the Pacific Ring of Fire is on the increase.
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