Evacuations from Indonesian volcano approach 50000

Posted September 29, 2017

More than 122,000 people on the Indonesian resort island of Bali have sought refuge in temporary shelters amid fears that the Mount Agung volcano will erupt soon.

Mount Agung is located about 75 km from the tourist hub of Kuta.

The Mount Agung Volcano is at its highest alert levels since last Friday.

"At night everything was shaking because of the quake, I evacuated on foot through dusty roads", said Nengah Bunter, 70, at another evacuation centre. Back then, there was no evacuation plan, people just "ran to save themselves", he said. Quoted in The Guardian newspaper, associate professor, Scott Bryan, from the Queensland University of Technology said, "The fact that the seismic tremors beneath the volcano are increasing in number, intensity, and the reduction in their depth in the last week or so, is a very good indication that magma is moving up to the surface". Host communities were providing food and water, while the central and local governments were providing tents, blankets and other relief.

Authorities are also preparing ferries to help people leave Bali in case air travel is disrupted, Budi Karya said.

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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. "There are some who are staying behind because the volcano hasn't erupted yet or because of religious beliefs", said Nugroho.

Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) said it was the first time in living memory that an island's whole population had been moved because of volcanic activity.

Search and rescue teams on the Island of Bali, Indonesia with Mount Agung in the background. Indonesian authorities declared a state of emergency.

Mount Agung last erupted in 1963, killing almost 1,600 people.

The airport in Bali's capital Denpasar, through which millions of foreign tourists pass every year, has not been affected, but several countries including Australia and Singapore have issued a travel advisory. Many of these show high levels of activity but it can be weeks or even months before an actual eruption.