50000 evacuate as Bali volcano swells

Agung Vulnerable activity
50000 evacuate as Bali volcano swells
Author

27 September, 2017

The Mount Agung volcano on Indonesia's resort island of Bali, which has been rumbling for weeks, is "at a critical stage", a disaster management official said Tuesday.

Indonesia sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, and has close to 130 active volcanoes - more than any other country.

Almost five million people visited Bali past year - a lot of them from mainly from Australia, China and Japan.

Around 62,000 people lived in the danger zone prior to the evacuations, according to the disaster mitigation agency.

The government's humanitarian assistance plan will see the distribution of hundreds of thousands of face masks.

Bali's Ngurah Rai global airport, which is about 47 miles from the volcano, remains open, with flights running as normal on Tuesday.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the agency's spokesman, said evacuees are spread across more than 370 locations on the island, including temporary camps, sports centres, village halls and the houses of friends and relatives. Lava traveled 4.7 miles and ash reached Jakarta, about 620 miles away.

Over 70,000 people have already evacuated the area as an eruption from the Mount Agung volcano seems imminent.

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Indonesia is made of thousands of islands and is prone to earthquakes and volcanoes, what geologists call seismic upheaval.

The Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation raised the alarm on Friday.

"The mountain has not erupted until now".

More than 1,000 people died when Mount Agung last erupted in 1963.

In a televised news conference, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said "the highest priority is the safety of our people" and urged those around Mount Agung to follow the instructions of authorities. "The earthquakes are happening less frequently but the magnitude is getting stronger", Gede Suantika, a senior volcanologist at the agency told AFP.

In case of a big eruption, the danger zone could be expanded. However, it was 10 times smaller than Mount Agung's 1963 eruption.

Mount Agung is a stratovolcano with geographical and even mythological significance in Bali.


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