The 28 villages in a 12-kilometer danger zone surrounding Bali's Mount Agung were still empty on Tuesday as disaster officials warned that the volcano's eruption was imminent. The volcano rumbled to life last month for the first time after more than a half-century's sleep. The last time it blew, back in 1963, it left 200 dead and displaced thousands for almost an entire year.
This time, the local government isn't taking any chances. An estimated 140,000 people have already evacuated their villages, crowding into temporary shelters as the tremors continued to shake the Island of the Gods.
But local residents say they can't stay away from their villages for too long. Farmers have already started to return to tend to their cattle, despite the risk. And others are now making the trip during work hours to return to the shelter at night under the mistaken belief that they will be able to outrun the volcanic ash cloud as long as they are awake. (These ash clouds can move in excess of 400 kilometers-per-hour)
We sent a photographer to photograph the eerie abandoned streets of Besakih village, in Karangasem district, and document the lives of those who just can't stay away.