UN: Volcanic eruption on Mount Agung underlines necessity for early warning and evacuation

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United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) during press conference to show potential impacts of recent Mount Agung eruptions (photo: Pacific Disaster Center)
Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) during press conference to show potential impacts of recent Mount Agung eruptions (photo: Pacific Disaster Center)

Geneva, 28 November 2017 - The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Robert Glasser, today expressed his concern for the people and Government of Indonesia as the likelihood of a large volcanic eruption on Bali’s Mount Agung continues to become more imminent.

According to reports, Mount Agung has been emitting clouds of white and dark gray ash about 4,000 metres into the atmosphere while lava is welling up in its crater. Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Centre has warned of a possible eruption that could send rocks a distance of up to 8km, and volcanic gas a distance of 10km within three minutes.

Mr. Glasser said: “We have been informed that about 100,000 people in 22 villages within a 9.5 km red zone around the volcano were told to leave yesterday by the Indonesian authorities. We commend their swift action to raise the warning for the volcano to the top level four, while issuing warnings about the imminent risk of a larger eruption.

“This latest volcanic eruption underscores how early warning systems, evacuation planning, and swift responses from the relevant authorities work together to save lives and avoid catastrophic scenarios.

“The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) urges other countries vulnerable to volcanic activity to follow Indonesia and establish early warning systems and evacuation planning that protects at risk populations. This is an example of the type of risk management approach called for by member states in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction that needs to become a norm in countries facing day-to-day threats from natural hazards.”

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