On highest alert: Thick smoke emanates from the crater of Mount Agung in Karangasem, Bali, as it erupted again on Nov.25. (Courtesy of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency/File)
Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan led an emergency Coordination Meeting on Mount Agung eruption on Nov. 28.
The minister was accompanied by Tourism Minister Arief Yahya and they had a video conference with several figures such as Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi, the head of National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), representatives of Directorate General of Immigration and TNI Chief of General Staff.
From the EOC room of Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali there were Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika, AP1 Bali – Lombok and The National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), among others.
Bali Governor Mangku said the volcanic ash from Mount Agung has reached 4,000 meters and headed to the southwest. The governor added that the news about Mount Agung spewing out rocks were untrue and 40,000 residents of the villages of Kubu and Rendang have been evacuated.
“National Armed Forces and National Police have set up medical posts for evacuatees. They have also received rice and instant noodles; however for distribution, one ton of fuel is needed every day,” said Mangku.
Currently there are 70,000 evacuatees who need 25 tons of rice and Rp 700 million (US$51,800) every day. Other supplies that are needed include water facilities, sembako (staple foods), blankets, beds, medicines and daily needs include bathing/washing/toilet centers (MCK).
Sixty units of buses are also needed for a week to carry people who want to go to Surabaya and Jakarta. He also needs boats at the ready in Benoa Port.
Twenty-three buses have left Bali for Surabaya on Nov. 28. Karangasem Regional Military Command (Dandim) will serve as the commander for emergency response. Meanwhile, the airport will be evaluated every six hours.
“I hope companies that are handling the refugees don’t exploit this situation and ask for additional charges,” told Luhut.
“I also ask the media to stop spreading fake news; I’ll leave this matter to Kapolda Bali,” Luhut added.
Moreover, Luhut asked the Directorate General of Immigration to provide visa and passport extension for tourists who are affected by this disaster.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) issued an early warning of tropical cyclone that affected the wind direction and the direction of the volcanic ash. For the next three days, the rainfall is expected to increase.
Meanwhile, Basarnas operational director said they will send more people from Surabaya, Semarang, Bandung and Mataram. Basarnas has so far evacuated 53 people who refused to leave their homes.
Tourism Minister Arief has asked airlines to exempt passengers from cancellation fee.
He appreciated hotels and resorts that gave free stays for the first day and 50 percent off on the next day. Arief asked the immigration office to take care of visa extension for foreign tourists.
For transportation, Arief has asked the Transportation Ministry to be in charge of tourists by providing more buses and other forms of transportation. (kes)