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Head of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) told reporters yesterday that Mount Agung seismic activity is still high, with 500-600 deep earthquakes, 350 shallow earthquakes and local tectonic quakes in the range of 60 a day are being recorded. Although still high, the amount of activity has decreased even though the crater is still emitting sulfatara smoke.

“The rate has dropped since September 22 and 23. Now it’s a little less,” explained Head of PVMBG, Gede Suantika, on Friday (20/10), at the launch of an early warning system at the UKM Center Building, Amlapura.

Suantika stated that Mount Agung has indeed expanded but only in micrometer sizes. Although there is still some inflation, now there is no movement or concentration of magma towards the top of the mountain. ”The concentration of magma to the surface is still zero. There has been no magma migration,” he said, as reported Bali Post.

Currently, he added, magma is estimated to be still at a depth of 5 to 10 kilometers. However, although there is a decrease in the frequency of earthquakes during the last two days, there are still tremors being felt. However, the good news is that those earthquakes are not centered under Mount Agung, mainly occurring in the area between Mount Agung and Mount Abang.

Until Friday afternoon, PVMBG still kept the highest level of ‘beware’ for Mount Agung and continues the recommendation of evacuating the area in a radius of nine kilometers and a sectoral radius of 12 kilometers.

In regard to the smoke still coming from the crater, based on observations at Rendang Post on the west side and Batu Lempeh to the north, sulfatara smoke with a height of 100 meters is still rising. White smoke means there is a dominance of water vapor inside the mountain that occurs due to warming.

Meanwhile, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika hopes the status of Gunung Agung can be lowered in the near future. “Already a month, the impact is going to be long,” he said on the sidelines of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group Leader Meeting at Padma Resort, Legian, on Wednesday.

According to Pastika, there are a number of issues that must be faced as a consequence of the high alert status of Mount Agung. Meeting the needs of evacuees is the main concern. “In one day, for example, we must prepare 50 tons of rice,” he said. The amount is quite a burden for the Bali government, because the supply of rice in the area is limited.

Another problem is the stagnation of a number of government projects. “This budget year is going to finish soon and what is the status of the budget?” said Pastika. According to the governor, the management of government project funds is not a trivial matter. “There are rules, for example if the projects are not completed, there is a penalty, and the money should go back to the state treasury.”

Image: Mount Agung, courtesy of FB