We’re in Ubud, Bali and each day there are news reports that an eruption on the nearby volcano, Mount Agung “could be hours away”.
Media outlets are spreading sensationalised news to get the clicks. Rumours are infesting on social media platforms causing people to panic. It’s hard to understand what’s actually just #fakenews.
At the time of posting, there’s none of the following:
There are however, the following:
Mount Agung sit’s on the Pacific “Ring Of Fire”. She hasn’t hasn’t erupted for more than 50 years. Back then, she rumbled for about a month before she blew and took over 1,000 lives.
While there’s a lot of rumours and exaggeration about the current status, the threat is real. There is a potential that we may experience one of mother natures most destructive forces. We can’t predict when or if it will actually happen. But what should we do if an eruption does happen?
Disclaimer: we are not experts. Use this as a guide but always listen to authorities. If you are near a volcano where alerts have been raised, but an eruption has not yet occurred, please check out our guide on How to Prepare for a Volcanic Eruption.
Expect to be able to see, hear and feel the eruption.
Be calm and don’t panic.
I know, easier said than done, but seriously – freaking out isn’t going to help the situation. Focus on what is in your control to make the right decisions to keep yourself, and those in your care, safe.
Depending on your proximity to the Mount Agung volcano, you may not have a choice but to leave. Check in with local authorities and follow their instructions to relocate to an evacuation centre or safer location. It’s also important to evacuate the area asap. If you wait to long, you’ll have to deal with ash fall, which can damage your car’s engine and make it more difficult to leave.
Airports may be closed because any ash in the atmosphere means it becomes a no-fly zone. Be patient and consider alternative options such as land or sea transport to another airport, if possible.
While you may be in a “safe zone” away from lava and rocks, the danger after an eruption comes from the ash cloud which can bring poisonous gases and particles that can cause health problems.
Check the weather forecast for insights on where the worst of the ash may head.
If there is ash fall in your area and you have lung or heart problems, or respiratory sensitivity, you might consider evacuation.
If you are in a region where there is ash fall after an eruption, the best place for you and your pets is to be is inside. Ash fall may keep you housebound for hours or even days.
If you are able to:
The ash in the air may impact your health, especially if you already have respiratory issues. Below are symptoms that may occur during ash fall. Stay indoors and when possible, seek medical assistance.
When the ash has settled, clean away the ash. Take care as ash can be abrasive and wear a mask.
Look after each other. If you’re in the position to do so, help your neighbours and local animals; offer them shelter, food and clean water. Find out if support groups need donations of food, blankets or money to help those in a less fortunate situation.
For further information on ash fall, there is an awesome detailed guide from the New Zealand Government here.