Currently, Mount Agung in Bali is still at Alert Level II because there is a possibility of an eruption at any time. Therefore people and climbers are prohibited from doing activities within a radius of 2 km from the top of the crater.
The head of the BPBD (Disaster Management Agency) Karangasem Bali Ida Bagus Ketut Arimbawa said that the five-point climbing routes and “rat trails” are always closely guarded by BPBD officers and work closely with relevant agencies to anticipate climbers to Mount Agung.
“The people around Mount Agung and climbers or visitors (tourists) should not climb and do no activities in the Hazard Estimation Zone, namely in the crater area of Mount Agung and in all areas within a radius of 2 km from the Mount Agung Crater,” said Chief Executive BPBD Karangasem when confirmed in Karangasem, Bali, Wednesday (17/2).
Also, people who live and have activities around the river that is upstream at Mount Agung should be aware of potential secondary hazards, in the form of rain lava flows and if the eruption material is still exposed in the peak area.
In November 2020, it was discovered that certain individuals were climbing for spiritual purposes.
Also, there are still local guides who deliberately provide information that climbing access is open.
He regretted those who did not follow the government’s recommendations or directions.
“Information obtained from local guides there that climbing is permissible, and social media are announcing that they are allowed to climb, yes I ask to remove that too, so we have installed signs and hopefully there will be no climbing for mutual safety,” he said.
Surveillance was also carried out targeting the “rat trail” which is often used by climbers to climb secretly, who want to enjoy Mount Agung in a Level II Alert condition.
“There are many rat trails, we anticipate writing to Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association related to tourists, we have also sent letters to lodgers who want to climb about the ban,” he said.
“The Tourism Office also informs local tour guides not to carry out activities, and not to accompany climbers to Mount Agung, we have done it twice, that’s our step from the government through BPBD,” he continued.
He added that in this pandemic situation the climbing ban was also carried out to reduce the potential for crowding.
“Because climbing is not possible alone, especially if Karangasem is in the orange zone. Follow the government’s appeal so that we are always safe from the conditions of Mount Agung, COVID-19, landslides, and floods,” said Chief Executive.