Thousands living near Bali volcano refuse to evacuate

Thousands of villagers living in the danger zone are refusing to seek refuge in emergency centres.

by

    Datah village, Indonesia - Bali's international airport has reopened after wind blew away thick clouds of ash spewed out by a nearby volcano, but the threat of a devastating eruption from Mount Agung remains.

    While many people fled areas near the volcano, thousands of villagers living in the danger zone have refused to seek shelter in emergency centres.

    Wayan Sweca is a cattle farmer in Datah, a village on the island of Bali that sits within the evacuation zone.

    He said he tried to encourage other villagers to take refuge, but many don't want to leave their homes or cattle behind.

    "If somebody manages to convince my people to come down, I'll do anything to help. At least I won't be accused of violating the government's instructions," Sweca told Al Jazeera.

    "I really support the government's efforts, but I love my people very much," he said.

    About six kilometres from the top of the volcano, a group of farmers and their families remained in the village and refused to leave earlier this week.

    They said they wanted to make sure their animals are taken care of and feared losing everything if they are forced to stay in the shelters for weeks or even months.

    "It's very difficult to evacuate our cattle, especially because there is no food for our cows down there," said Wayan Sudi, a local farmer.

    "This time of year, it's hard to find food anywhere. We don't have money to buy it for them."

    The last time Mount Agung erupted, in 1963, around 1,500 Indonesians were killed.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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