Eruption fears as 57000 flee Bali volcano amid tremors

"Denpasar City and most of the touristic destinations in Bali are safe from the eruption or risky impact of the eruption", Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of Information and data of Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency, said.

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.

More than 57,000 people living near the mountain have been evacuated from their homes, and the area is under the highest level volcano alert. In case of eruption, the authorities' contingency plan includes rerouting flights to five regional airports, including those in the cities of Surabaya and Yogjakarta in Java, ABC News Australia reported.

Agung, located in Bali's Karangasem regency (75 kilometers from Kuta), has been rumbling for the past month and an eruption is feared to be imminent for the first time in over 50 years. The disaster mitigation agency recorded about 62,000 people live in the risky zone.

Evacuees are now living in temporary shelters: sports centres, village halls or even with relatives or friends.

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Bali's Ngurah Rai global airport, which is about 47 miles from the volcano, remains open, with flights running as normal on Tuesday. Lava traveled 4.7 miles and ash reached Jakarta, about 620 miles away. Some 2,000 cows have also been evacuated from the flanks of the volcano.

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

Harry added that based on various sources, it was found that 59,820 people, who live in areas affected by the Mt. Agung eruption, have taken refuge at several evacuation points in areas across Bali. "The earthquakes are happening less frequently but the magnitude is getting stronger", Gede Suantika, a senior volcanologist at the agency told AFP.

"Mount Agung is entering a critical phase".

Speaking in Klungkung district, President Joko Widodo told evacuees the government would do its best to reduce economic losses incurred during the evacuation.

  • Douglas Reid