Bali volcano: Island's Governor says he got his numbers wrong on Mount Agung refugees
Updated 10 October 2017, 7:30 AEDT
By Indonesia correspondent Adam Harvey
A week after urging tens of thousands of volcano evacuees to go home, Bali's Governor admits the camps are actually full of genuine refugees.
A week after urging tens of thousands of volcano evacuees to go home, Bali's Governor says he got his numbers wrong ... and the camps are actually full of genuine refugees.
Governor Made Pastika last week said about half the 150,000 evacuees from Bali's rumbling Mount Agung volcano did not need to be in emergency shelters because their villages were not at risk.
Now Mr Pastika says that information was wrong — and the official number of evacuees from 28 threatened villages is much higher than he first thought.
"I apologise, I had the wrong information about the number of people living in the 28 villages," he said.
"From 28 villages, the number of evacuees should be 185,865 people, from 54,788 families."
Mr Pastika initially said that many of the evacuees were not in real danger and had been frightened into coming into the camps by hoaxes about the volcano's eruption.
He even threatened public servants with loss of pay if they came from villages outside the 12-kilometre evacuation zone around Mount Agung and were found in evacuation camps.
About 30,000 of the 185,000 evacuees are living with friends and family, he said, with the rest living in evacuation camps scattered across the island.
He said the local government would issue identity cards to help better manage the crisis, which has been going on for three weeks — with no end in sight.
Mount Agung is still venting steam and being rocked by almost 1,000 earthquakes each day, and vulcanologists say it could erupt at any time.
The evacuation of the area around Mt Agung was prompted in part by experience of the volcano's 1963 eruption, when more than 1,100 people were killed.