BNPB extends Mount Agung`s emergency alert status

Karangasem, Bali (ANTARA News) - Indonesias National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has extended the emergency alert status of Mount Agung in Bali until Oct 16, due to its volcanic activity.

"Until today, on average, its activity has not yet dropped but has only tended to rise," BNPB chief, Willem Rampangilie, said at the command post of Mount Agung emergency management here on Thursday.

An emergency status was imposed on Sept 22, which was raised to the highest Alert Level IV, following the mount's volcanic activity.

Rampangilie stated that the decision to extend the emergency alert status was made after BNPB discussed the situation with the Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency (PVMBG), Karangasem district administration, and other related offices.

"We are facing uncertainty. This is one of the greatest challenges, but we have been ready to face even the worst scenario," he asserted.

He has appealed to people living outside 28 villages to return home as their areas were not located within the hazard zone.

The number of people coming to the evacuation centers has continued to increase despite calls for those outside hazard zones to return home.

According to BNPBs latest data, the number of evacuees has reached 150,109 spreading in 420 locations in nine districts/cities in Bali.

The hike in the number of evacuees was because of psychological factors and therefore "we have been conducting counseling to make then understand the real situation," Willem noted.

Until 12.00 hours on Thursday, PVMBG has recorded 113 shallow volcanic quakes and 18 local tectonic quakes.(*)

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