National Geographic : 1963 Sep
There were frightening reports of ash flows and avalanches on the nearly uninhabited northeast face. On March 12, mud and stones flowed down Agung's southeast face. Five days later, as hundreds of Balinese prayed in mountainside shrines, the volcano erupted. By far the worst havoc struck a group of villages due east of Besakih (map, page 440). So sudden and complete was their destruction that even two weeks later officials could not be sure what had happened. Many places, cut off by avalanches and lahar flows, were still too hot to be entered. Bodies were buried - or eaten by dogs-where they fell. 452 "For those villages, we have taken the last census figures and simply subtracted the num ber of hospital patients and refugees we know about," Prince Anak Agung Gede Agung, chief of the Bali information office, told us. "The difference is our count of the dead about 1,500." Glowing Cloud Brings Death I talked to several victims in Denpasar's Sanglah Hospital, through Dr. Oey Tiang Bok, who spoke English. Sepek, a 25-year old villager from Sorga, near Besakih, said he had been in the village temple, with about 100 others, just after sunrise on March 17.