Mt agung evacuees return home

Klungkung, Bali (ANTARA News) - The Klungkung disaster mitigation office (BPBD) has facilitated the return of Mount Agungs evacuees to their respective homes after the volcanos alert status was lowered.

"We did not force them to return home, and they can stay at the refugee camp for as long as they want," Putu Widada, head of the local BPBD, said here, Monday.

The office has deployed five buses and three trucks to transport a total of 3,758 evacuees back to six villages -- Buwana Giri, Sebudi, Besakih, Jungutan, Dukuh, and Ban -- in stages.

Several villagers were glad to return home, as they were keen to celebrate the Galungan Hindu holiday in their villages.

Mount Agung has been rumbling since August, but the volcano has not yet erupted.

The volcano is located on the resort island of Bali, but it is quite far from the islands main tourist destinations, such as Kuta Beach, which is some 75 kilometers away.

Several key Balinese destinations, such as Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Lake Beratan Bedugul, Tampak Siring Palace, Bali Safari and Marine Park, Garuda Wisnu Kencana, Sanur and Kuta beaches, Tanjung Benoa, Goa Gajah, and Nusa Penida, are located quite far from the volcano and not affected by the increase in volcanic activity at Mount Agung.

Bali has set a target to attract 5.5 million foreign tourists this year.(*)