Large Evacuation: Bali Volcano Forces Tens of Thousands to Flee Their Homes

Elias Hubbard
September 25, 2017

Bali's governor has declared a province-wide natural disaster even before the eruption of the Mt Agung volcano, as thousands seek shelter away from the mountain.

More than 34,000 people have fled from the rumbling volcano as the magnitude of tremors grows, prompting fears it could erupt.

Early on Saturday, officials said that increased seismic activity was ongoing, hours after the alert level was raised.

"I am actually very anxious to leave, I left my cows and pigs at home because we were ordered to vacate our village immediately", villager Nyoman Asih who fled with her entire family told AFP.

In 1963, the 3,031-meter (9,944-feet) Agung hurled ash as high as 20 kilometers (12 miles), according to volcanologists, and remained active for about a year.

The timing of the impending eruption is notable as Australian schools are now in a holiday period - meaning many families are vacationing in the tropical tourism hot-spot.

National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho tweeted on Sunday morning the volcano in Mount Agung had not erupted and there was no volcanic ash.

"The mountain has not erupted until now, the quake happens less frequently but the magnitude is getting stronger", Gede Suantika, a senior volcanologist at the agency, said.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency set up an exclusion zone within 9km of the crater or within 12km to the north, north-east, south-east and south-south-west, where lava flows could reach.

A man rests at one of the temporary evacuation centres.

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

Meanwhile Governor I Made Mangku Pastika pleaded with tourists not to visit the evacuation zones.

The country of thousands of islands is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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