Indonesia revokes Mount Agung emergency response status

Indonesia considers emergency response status due to eruption of Mt. Agung tarnishes tourism

Ersin Çelik
10:12 - 23/12/2017 Cumartesi
Update: 10:13 - 23/12/2017 Cumartesi
People watch as Mount Agung spews ash and smoke during an eruption
People watch as Mount Agung spews ash and smoke during an eruption
The Indonesian government has revoked emergency response status due to the rumbling Mount Agung on the tourist island of Bali to convince visitors the island is safe to visit.

The decision was made in a cabinet meeting led by President Joko Widodo in Bali on Friday night.

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika told Anadolu Agency on Saturday that the emergency response status was tarnishing Bali's tourism image, causing tourism to decline and many businesses and hotels to lose income.

He said that status is not relevant to the condition and situation of most areas of Bali that are safe and normal.

"The impression posed by the emergency response status is as if the whole of Bali is in an emergency so that other countries issue travel warning, while the status is only related to logistics distribution for refugees," said Pastika.

"Therefore, the government revoked that status," he said.

Authorities last month raised the volcano alert for Mount Agung to its highest level and told 100,000 people to leave an area extending 10 kilometers (6 miles) from its crater.

Countries like Australia and Singapore have advised their citizens to be cautious when traveling to Bali.

Pastika said with the removal of the emergency status, the government hopes that other countries will also lift travel warnings to Bali for the economic recovery.

Bali island is a main tourist attraction in Indonesia, and its population is largely dependent on tourism industry.

It is estimated that the tourism sector is losing up to 15 trillion rupiah ($ 1.11 billion) and around one million fewer tourists because of the closure of the International Ngurah Rai Airport for several days due to volcanic activity.

The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) is responsible for ensuring the safety of tourists visiting Bali, although the volcano is still at the highest alert level.
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