A top volcano threat level for Mount Agung in Bali was lowered on Sunday (29/10) as volcanic activities in the mountain started to ease. (Antara Photo/Ahmad Subaidi)

Airbnb Activates Disaster Response Tool in Anticipation of Mount Agung Eruption


SEPTEMBER 29, 2017

Jakarta. Global hospitality marketplace Airbnb has activated its disaster response tool in Bali, encouraging hosts to open their doors to residents and volunteers in need of urgent accommodation amid signs that Mount Agung might soon erupt.

"Today, Airbnb activated our disaster response tool. [...] Through the tool, local evacuees and those in need of urgent accommodation as a result of this disaster are able to connect with Airbnb hosts who are opening their homes free of charge from now through Oct. 11, 2017," Robin Kwok, Airbnb country manager for Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said in a statement on Thursday (28/09).

As of Friday, five hosts in Denpasar, Kuta and Kerobokan have opened their homes as part of this initiative.

"We're proud to do what we can to support emergency response efforts and help anyone impacted by the volcanic activity," Kwok said.

Both homeowners and those who need evacuation can use this link to offer or find free temporary accommodation in Bali.

There are 25,800 active Airbnb listings in Bali, with the three top neighborhoods with the most listings being Seminyak, Canggu and Sanur.

Airbnb launched the tool in 2013 following the devastation by Hurricane Sandy in the northeastern United States a year earlier. The company recently also activated the tool during Hurricane Harvey, which saw more than 1,000 hosts in Texas and Louisiana open their homes, breaking the record of the largest response to date.

According to Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), 144,389 people have been evacuated from locations near the volcano as of Friday.

Mount Agung's alert status has been at the highest level since last week when quakes started to indicate high seismic activity inside the volcano.

Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika said the immediate impact of an eruption would only affect an area within a 12-kilometer radius around Mount Agung, but that a much wider area is likely to be covered in ash.

Still, Indonesian transport authorities have prepared for the worse by setting up a protocol to divert flights to 10 airports across the country in case of an emergency, while also making contingency plans for ferries to evacuate people from the island in case air travel is disrupted.