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After over five weeks sitting on Level 4 or ‘Alert’, the status of Mount Agung on Sunday (29/10/2017) was lowered to level III ‘Standby’.

A number of evacuees outside the danger area, which is now a radius of 6 – 7.5 kms from the crater, will be able to return to their villages, which is expected to total to over 47,700 people.

This is just in time for Galungan. The evacuees will be returning to their homes in various regions of Karangsem to celebrate Galungan Day, the day of victory of Dharma (kindness) over Adharma (evil).

“We have chosen to go home for Galungan as the status is safer, so there is no need to be afraid to be at home right now,” said Ketut Suada, 51, an evacuee from Muncan Village, on Monday morning to Detik.

According to him, Galungan every six months is very important to Balinese people. Besides being one of the biggest religious days it is also a time for gathering with the family and relatives in their hometown.

He and his family stayed over a month in the evacuation area of GOR Swecapura, Klungkung, far from his home in Muncan.

“We have not seen our relatives since Muncan evacuees are scattered in various areas of Klungkung,” he said.

After being discharged, Suada plans to remain at his home while awaiting further information from the village head and the local government.

“I just follow what the government decides. If we go back home, and then told to evacuate again, we will return to the refugee camp,” he explained.

Another evacuee, Nyoman Parwata (45), also from Muncan Village said he would return to the refugee camp after completing the Galungan ceremonies in the village.

“I will come back later when I finish Galungan. I am still afraid to be at home because the status is still alert,” said Parwata.

Hari Raya Galungan is one of the great holy days every six months for Hindus on the Island of the Gods.

It is also a time of gathering and greeting relatives on Umanis Galungan or the day after the Galungan Day.

Meanwhile, despite the decline in the volcano’s status, the local government continues to extend their emergency response status. Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika extended the status until November 9, 2017.

A peaceful Mount Agung – photo: Yukita Travel