OH GREAT, so just as I thought I’d covered every eventuality in my previous blog post on “Do We Ever Stop Worrying About Our Children” with regard of the list of things my daughter needs to be careful of whilst travelling in South East Asia…IT’S JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT WORSE!!
We went out last night and had our final meal all together as a family – so far so good….that’s her hand, not mine under my arm..
When we got home late last night, I contacted an old school friend on Facebook who lives in Bali to say “my daughter is arriving tomorrow on a volunteering placement for the next month – are you still living there?” and her immediate reply was “WHAT? Are you joking?? We are currently on Grade 3 alert for a volcano that’s about to erupt…not sure it’s a good idea to come now??”
FFS. Is there anywhere in the world that isn’t having seismic natural disasters at the moment? On a more depressing note, if you believe a biblical prophecy from Christian numerologist David Meade, then all of us only have a couple of days left on this earth anyway. Meade says that the world is ending on September 23rd because of the bible verses which he has interpreted to match the Great American Eclipse, Hurricane Harvey and the flooding in Texas. The numerologist is referring to Luke 21:25-26.
So no matter how hard I tried not to panic her, once I was fully Googled Up With Horror Information, I couldn’t help saying things like “OMG LAST TIME THIS VOLCANO ERUPTED IT KILLED ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE” and “THEY’RE SAYING THERE MIGHT BE A TSUNAMI AS WELL AS THERE’S JUST BEEN A LARGE EARTHQUAKE NEARBY” quietly petering off to a more sensible level of panic with things like, “a 5.7-magnitude tremor was detected in the Java Sea late on Wednesday, the US Geological Survey said, at a depth of 589km”….until she quite rightly told me to shut up. “OK” I said, “well hopefully you won’t get killed by molten lava or the actual explosion, but you might need a gas mask as the ash cloud could be poisonous” (you’d be proud of me – I didn’t actually say that, but I thought it).
She doesn’t quite know where she’s going to be staying on the island so we currently have no idea whether it’s in the evacuation zone or not, but in the meantime she is now on the plane anyway. The sensible advice they are giving to all the Aussies about to go over there for the school holiday’s is to be “alert but not alarmed.”
“Alert but not alarmed” is therefore now going to be my new state of being. I will probably remain like this until she gets home in two months time. I might even make it my new Facebook status.
Apparently officials had already widened an evacuation zone around the 3,000m-high Mount Agung volcano earlier in the week, according to reports, so with seismic activity around the mountain increasing dramatically, the authorities have been forced to put residents on high alert and to evacuate those within 7.5km of the volcano, ABC reported. Mount Agung is a popular hiking destination for tourists. It last erupted more than 50 years ago, in 1963, killing at least 1,000 people. “This is a natural disaster, we cannot avoid it, we can’t stop it exploding but we can reduce the number of victims and losses. We are prepared, I believe we can handle everything,” Governor Made Mangku Pastika told the site.
Meanwhile, my daughter is flying right into Bali. Great.
Further investigations via the Foreign Office Information that I’ve looked at forced me to go and lie down:-
Indonesia sits along a volatile seismic strip called the ‘Ring of Fire’. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur regularly and tsunamis are possible. Flash floods and more widespread flooding occur regularly. See Natural disasters.
There are many active volcanoes in Indonesia any of which can erupt without warning resulting in the evacuation of villages within a 3 to 7 kilometre radius. In the past, repeated eruptions have caused destruction and fatalities.
Ash clouds can affect flight schedules and the operation of regional airports. Check with your airline or travel company for the latest information.
Check media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities before travelling to areas that are prone to volcanic activity and take extra care.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Indonesia. Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and intent to carry out these attacks at anytime and anywhere in the country. Types of attacks have included suicide bombing and small-arms fire, targeting public and crowded places.
The threat from Islamist extremism remains high, though the Indonesian authorities continue to disrupt attack planning, including arresting alleged terrorists reportedly in the advanced stages of preparation.
OH WELL – what can you do? We can’t stop our children going on adventures. We just have to hope that they will come back in one piece and have the most amazing experience of their young lives. I forgot to mention one last thing to her before my last hug with her this morning – “DON”T DIE”. That’s maybe the one and only rule, but of course that will be her aim too, so it doesn’t really need to be said. I’m sure once she’s there, it will be a little like living in London. There are of course high alert threats at all times, but life goes on and mostly it won’t seem as massive a situation as it does when you read about it (she says, not really quite believing it herself)….
Bali is one of the most beautiful islands on the planet. You can’t have everything. The people and the experiences are one thing…but you can’t fart against thunder or indeed ignore a volcano. Fingers crossed Mount Agung changes it’s mind and settles down again for another long sleep into extinction.