Indonesia's Mt Agung volcano sparks fears of an exodus from Bali

Cheryl Sanders
September 25, 2017

The Agung entered into eruption last time between 1963 and 1964 and caused the death of over 1,000 people.

Indonesian evacuated increased today to 35,000 in Bali, main touristic destination, due to the possible eruption of Agung volcano.

"The biggest challenge is we can't predict the number of evacuees", said Putu Widiada, head of the local disaster management agency in Klungkung district. Volcanologists raised its alert level on Friday with extension of risky zone for the second time.

About 10,000 people have already been evacuated, with officials urging people to stay at least nine kilometres (5.6 miles) away from Mount Agung.

Predictions about the potential eruption are based on the one in 1963, which saw the volcano expel large amounts of debris and extensive lava flows.

Thousands are living in temporary shelters, sport centres, village halls and with relatives or friends.

In Australia, flights by Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Qanta to Bali are continuing as scheduled to Denpasar International Airport.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 14 tons of aid has been sent, including tents, blankets, mattresses and portable communications equipment. Up to 30,000 villagers around the mountain evacuated their homes. The 35-year-old said he sold the family's cow because they don't know when they'll be able to return.

Bali's global airport in Denpasar, which is used by millions of foreign tourists each year, is now operating as normal, the officials say.

BNPB is also installing road signs to mark the safe and risky zones around the 3,014-metre-high volcano.

The mountain, 72 kilometres to the northeast of the tourist hotspot of Kuta, is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

Residents stay at a temporary shelter as they are evacuated from risky areas following potential eruption of Gunung Agung volcano in Bali, Indonesia, on September 23, 2017. "However, we should be ready for the best scenario if the eruption does happen", he added.

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