Over 122000 people flee Bali volcano on eruption alert

Kristi Paul
September 29, 2017

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said Wednesday that more than 96,000 people have fled the area around the Mount Agung volcano.

Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and the UK have all issued warning that increased volcanic activity at Mount Agung in eastern Bali could disrupt flights to and from one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.

The 3,031-meter Mount Agung volcano in Karang Asem district is in the highest alert status with continuing hike of seismic activity.

Officials at an evacuation centre in Klungkung district said 122,490 people had left their homes, taking refuge at almost 500 makeshift shelters or moving in with relatives.

Shelters have opened on the island as thousands within a specified danger zone have been evacuated.

As the Bali volcano nears a devastating eruption - which an expert has warned could kill in seconds - authorities have swooped to get residents out the area.

Disaster officials are now working with the police, the military, and aid organizations like the Red Cross to dispatch vehicles filled with food, water, blankets and other necessities to evacuation centers.

Elsewhere, the threat of a separate volcanic eruption on the Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu prompted authorities on Thursday to order the compulsory evacuation of the entire island of Ambae, home to 11,000 people.

A villager rides by, with Mount Agung seen in the background, in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, Sept. 24, 2017. Indonesia, itself, has prepared Jakarta, Banyuwangi, Makassar, Kupang, Balikpapan, Ambon, Surabaya, Manado, Praya, and Solo airports for emergency use, should the situation deteriorate. But the great majority of visitors travel to and from Bali by air.

Volcanologists have not been able to predict when exactly volcano will erupt, but the dramatic increase in tremors recently indicates an eruption is imminent.

The 3,031-metre Mount Agung last erupted for nearly a year in 1963 to 1964, killing about 1,200 people.

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