Jakarta. The 2018 annual meeting between the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Nusa Dua, Bali, is still on the books despite troubling signs that Mount Agung, a volcano on the resort island, might soon erupt, a minister said on Sunday (24/09).
Still, the government is preparing contingency plans and an alternative venue for the meeting should the volcano erupt and cause significant damage on the island, said Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister for maritime affairs, as quoted by Antaranews.com.
"We are still waiting on Mount Agung's condition at the moment and we have not been able to say whether the IMF-World Bank's [annual meeting will be changed] because the time left is still rather long," Luhut said.
Luhut is the chairman of a national committee in charge of organizing the annual meeting, which will be attended by more than 15,000 delegates, businesspeople and journalists from 189 countries on Oct. 12-14 next year.
The minister and representatives from the national committee visited evacuation sites on Sunday and provided the local administration with funds to help pay for water, food and other sanitation items for people relocated from around Mount Agung. The Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, Bank Indonesia and official bank partners of the IMF-World Bank meeting all reportedly donated to help those in need.
Mount Agung is located more than 80 kilometers away from Nusa Dua.
According to a statement by the National Disaster Management Agency, nearly 35,000 people have been evacuated from locations near the volcano as of Sunday.
A separate statement by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources said Mount Agung's seismic energy is increasing and has the potential to erupt but no expert can predict when the eruption will happen.
The Bali Tourism Board said in a statement on Sunday that I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar is operating normally.