Eruption fears as 57000 flee Bali volcano amid tremors

Audrey Hill
September 27, 2017

And a hotel operator in Bali said news of the volcano had caused some guests to cancel their plans.

The Agung Volcano in Bali Island, which is most tourist area in country, was last to explode in 1963, when about 1,000 people lost ir lives in explosion.

Data showed that Mount Agung experienced 844 volcanic earthquakes on Monday, and 300 to 400 earthquakes by midday on Tuesday, he said.

"Our preparedness will be the key for the mitigations of volcanic risks", Devy Kamil, a senior official at Indonesia's Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, told AFP.

Mount Agung is one of many active volcanoes in the ring of fire, a string of volcanoes and seismic activity that runs through the Indonesian archipelago and the edges of the Pacific Ocean.

"The chances of an eruption are very high, but we can not be sure when it will erupt", he said at a news conference in the capital, Jakarta.

The Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management declared a 12-kilometer exclusion zone around the volcano. However, embassies have warned of possible flight cancellations in the event of an eruption.

The UK, Australia and the U.S. are among several countries that have issued travel advisories in recent days, warning that volcanic activity on Agung could interfere with travel plans.

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"As long as the volcanic ashes don't have any impact on Bali's airport, it will not be closed", an airport spokesman has told the ABC.

President Joko Widodo visited shelters near Mount Agung on Tuesday and urged residents to follow evacuation procedures after reports that some people were reluctant to leave their homes because nothing had happened.

"This number of seismicity is an unprecedented seismic observation at Agung volcano ever recorded by our seismic networks", the Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation said in a statement.

"Mount Agung is entering a critical phase".

Many Indonesians live close to volcanoes because the lava flows can make the surrounding land and soil fertile for farming.

Ash clouds from volcanoes and eruptions have disrupted tourism in Bali and other parts of Indonesia in the past.

Aircraft have been advised to avoid the area but so far no flights have been canceled. "Tourists are still going about their activities", she said.

Bali is still a safe destination, according to government and airline officials.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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