A 5.4 earthquake that shook South Bali on Thursday did not affect the island’s Mount Agung, according to Indonesia’s volcanology center (PVMBG). The earthquake’s epicenter was in sea and was recorded 103 kilometers southwest of Denpasar. People in South Bali and East Java could feel the quake.
However, Mount Agung, located in East Bali’s Karangasem regency was far removed from the quake, explained PVMBG Mount Agung observer, Nurul Hasaeni. “The location (of the epicenter) was far from Mount Agung,” Hasaeni told Tribun Bali on Thursday.
Vibrations from the quake actually were felt at the Mount Agung observation post, but just lightly, Hasaeni said.
“Mount Agung’s seismicity is still stable and there’s no indication of any change in seismicity from distant tectonic influence when looking at the seismographic readings,” he added. Based on the latest data from MAGMA, Indonesia’s official source on volcano, earthquake, and tsunami disasters, Mount Agung’s status remains at the second highest alert level III, or “standby”.
Even though Mount Agung’s activity has been relatively calm the past couple of weeks, with only thin gusts coming out from the crater, there are still more than 300 villagers still evacuated from villages in the Rendang District including Sebudi, Kesimpar and Lebih, too afraid to return home in the event of another possible eruption.
“There are 315 residents who are still displaced in two villages in Rendang. As many as 259 fled to Rendang and 56 to Nongan Village,” said the Rendang District Department of Agriculture’s Service Technical Implementation Unit (UPTD) logistics coordinator I Wayan Sudiarta.
Mount Agung did have a couple of small eruptions in July. While the exclusion zone persists as a four kilometer radius from the volcano’s crater and Bali is said to be safe from the volcano outside that zone, five kilometers from the crater still feels too close for some like Kesimpar resident I Nyoman Mandra.
“I, along with some other Kesimpar villagers are still displaced here. Kesimpar residents who fled here are residents whose homes are on the northern side near the crater. Some of the villagers whose homes are located more to the south (further from the crater) are not still evacuated. They sleep in their homes,” Mandra told Bali Post on Thursday.
Mandra and some of his neighbors from Kesimpar have taken refuge at a makeshift camp in the UPTD office in Rendang.
The evacuee explained that he and his family would return home later that day for a religious ceremony at the holy Besakih temple, located on the slopes of the volcano, but as soon as the ceremony ended, they would go back to their evacuation camp.
“I have no plan to go home. I’m tired of being evacuated but I can’t do anything, I am afraid that Mount Agung will erupt again,” he said.
Source&image: Coconuts Bali