A Tyrone native and current Bali resident has described the widespread panic in Bali following volcanic activity on a nearby mountain.
Nigel McFarland, who resides 28 miles from the Mount Agung Volcano, says there is “mounting hysteria” around the area.
“I see the volcano on a daily basis from my balcony, and it is crazy to see the smoke pluming from it,” he said. “There is certainly a lot of hysteria surrounding the event. Many have been evacuated and the main airport closed as it is too dangerous for planes to fly in volcanic ash.”
Since the weekend, Mount Agung has been hurling clouds of white and dark ash, prompting the evacuation of thousands.
“I see alot of ex-pats desperate to leave Bali, and tourists are scrambling to get away. It is all becoming very real now,” commented the former Omagh man.
A previous volcanic explosion happened in Bali in 1963, killing over 1,000 people and razing several villages. Nigel says many are fearful of a repeat event.
“Media coverage has been constant for three months, and many are apprehensive. I was speaking to a government individual on Monday, who told me the volcano had filled up and the magma was at the surface.
“For the first time yesterday I experienced acid rain while on the motorcycle. These are warning signs that mother nature is planning a big change.”
This said, Nigel explained that while holiday makers and ex-pats are scrambling to escape from the volcano, Bali locals are remarkably calm in the wake of the event.
“Having lived in Bali for five years, it is clear the mentality is relaxed and laid back and locals seem to be taking it in their stride. Local Shaman and village natives are convinced the eruption won’t be as bad as it seems.
“Locals seem to have a sentient relationship with the land, and have a spiritual belief in the processes of mother nature. I identify with this mentality, and feel that the volcanic activity is symbolic of the changes taking place in our world today.”