- The waiting is excruciating. If it is for us, how must it be for the now 140,000 displaced people from their mountain homes. Bored, tired, sick children. Depressed, bored adults – there is a mental health issue and it’s rising.
- Tremors come and tremors go. Some are quite powerful, others just discernable. Posts in social media are tracking these and reporting every six hours.
- The Governor of Bali has declared a state of emergency. This is mostly for easy release of appropriate funding but the Level 4 ‘imminent’ warning still stands.
- The Governor has also advised about half of the evacuees to return to their villages as they are not in the Karangasem Regency exclusion zone. He is not forcing this, as everyone understands that these are desperately poor, frightened people without access to updated information and some of who recall all too well the events of 1963.
- Tourism on the east coast is suffering badly. The Amed area is so quiet many accommodation and tourism operators are fearing immediate bankruptcy.
- A holy man went to the crater, in response to a message from one of the gods, to make offerings and was criticised heavily for taking the risk.
- There are rumours of looting, obliquely supported by Rio Helmi’s latest update. Rio is an acclaimed photographer and journalist and long time Ubud resident. As he speaks fluent Indonesian and Balinese he is able to communicate directly with those affected from village heads to children, and report back in fluent English to the rest of us. I have no doubt he manages several other languages too.
- Many organisations have rallied – too many to list but shoutouts to Kopernik and Bumi Sehat as examples of those working on the ground to provide shelter, food, healthcare and all the necessities of a crisis situation.
- Shoutouts too to the many expats offering their midwifery and other medical skills and who are on the ground distributing the truckloads of donated goods.
- Experts are saying that it could be any minute, or not at all. It could be as big as 1963 or a bit of a fizzer. The uncertainty is wearing.
- Travellers are asking social media to decide if they should come. What can you say? Come, there’s an eruption and planes are grounded for who knows how long. Don’t come. Go to Thailand instead and thousands of local businesses go under. No easy answers here.
- N95 particulate filtering masks are the must-have accessory of the volcano season, and they are in short supply.
- Sensationalist reporting, and there has been plenty, is not helpful.
So, there might be more to say on the next post.
Many villages have banners like this