Description of the disaster
On 22 September 2017, Indonesian Authorities (PVMBG) increased the status of Mount Agung in Bali from Level Three (High Alert: Orange/Ready to Erupt) to Level Four (Red Alert/Danger), the highest level for a volcano. This triggered a mass evacuation of villages living in close proximity of the volcano. By 29 September 2017, the number of evacuees was over 143,000 people in 471 camps. A month later, the status was downgraded from Level Four to Level Three, reducing the number of evacuees to 133,349 people in 383 camps. The status was again increased to Level Four on 27 November 2017, correspondingly widening the exclusion zone to 10km from the crater. The risk level has remained at Level Four since.
Dozens of mild magmatic and phreatic eruptions have been recorded since then, with the last recorded activity on 26 January 2018. Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Centre (PVMBG) stated that there is a drastic drop in volcano’s activity in January 2018 compared to December 2017. According to seismic data collection, approximately fifty shallow earthquakes were recorded per day in December. This went down to about ten per day towards the beginning of January, and then further reduced to four per day. The last recorded eruption was on 23 January with zero eruptions since. By the last week of January 2018, there were no eruptions on record. There are geographically 22 villages located in the disaster-prone areas with total population is 239,231 people. Given the prolonged duration of the emergency and with the instruction of the head of the district, the exclusion zone was reduced to 6 KM and may likely be reduced even further. The number of evacuees has also declined. By 30 January 2018, official records reports show 23,682 evacuees in 185 evacuation sites across 9 districts.
The risk level remains the same, with a significant risk of eruption. This risk requires preparation by the authorities and PMI for any possible further activities, or for the safe return or evacuees.