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Environment

Thousands Evacuate as Bali's Mount Agung Threatens to Erupt

Flickr - Adi ALGhanem

As thousands of people evacuate from villages surrounding the Mount Agung volcano in Bali, emergency services struggle to provide water and toilets.

This is the first time the Indonesian volcano has threatened to erupt in over half a century — it last erupted in 1963, killing 1,100 people. After an increase in the magnitude of tremors and seismic activity on Friday, the area was put on high alert and locals began to evacuate.

According to The ABC, over 15,000 people are currently sheltering in sporting facilities and shelters that have been set up in nearby villages.

At one of the main evacuation sites — the Klungkung evacuation centre — 3,500 villagers are taking shelter, sleeping in tents, on the floor and on stretchers. The Indonesian army have been helping by preparing food for the evacuees. However there have been reports that there is a shortage of clean water and a lack of sufficient toilets.

Read more: Rescuers Race to Save Children After Deadly Quake Crushes School

Many of those sheltering are the elderly and are apparently suffering stress from the predicted eruption. Locals are also concerned about having been forced to leave livestock behind that are going uncared for.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson, Waskita Sutadewa estimates that 11,300 villagers have been officially evacuated but says it’s likely that there will be two or three times more people who could be displaced by the eruption as many others have voluntarily left their homes.

The agency has advised that people should be cleared out as far as 9, in some locations more than 12, kilometres from the crater to avoid possible lava and ash.

The volcano is located aproximately 75km from the tourist hub of Kuta.  Officials have said that other parts of Bali, such as those popular with Australian tourists, are at this stage unaffected. Flights to and from Bali are still being scheduled although airlines are monitoring the situation.