Saturday, 21 April, 2018

More than 134000 flee as Bali's Mount Agung volcano threatens to erupt

Bali volcano evacuees outside red zone fearful to retun home Bali volcano evacuees outside red zone fearful to retun home
Terence Owen | 01 October, 2017, 00:47

Evidence has emerged on social media of three Indonesian priests venturing to the peak of Bali's Mount Agung volcano ahead of its expected eruption. "On the other hand, as many as 73,000 people from more than 51 villages that live outside the danger zone are safe and can go home". Now, officials say those whose homes aren't in the zone should leave the almost 500 temporary government shelters, where extra people have taxed limited resources.

Agung, which dominates the landscape in the north-east of the island, last erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,100 people.

An aerial survey Wednesday by the New Zealand Defense Force found "huge columns of smoke, ash and volcanic rocks billowing from the crater of an erupting volcano" on Ambae island, according to an agency news release.

Government volcanologists last week warned Agung could erupt at any time following a dramatic increase in tremors from the mountain.

Although there are reports of numerous evacuation camps being overburdened, when the Associated Press visited them, everything was peaceful and numerous evacuees were content.

But officials also stressed they could not predict when it might erupt.

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"I will stay here for as long as it takes, " said Suryani, a mother of two living with extended family in a tent on the grounds of a public sports centre that's the main camp in Klungkung district. Within days the volcano showed increasing signs of activity, and authorities stepped up their alerts and evacuations of the rural villages surrounding the mountain.

"They are treating us well".

"This is a temporary shelter so it's not as comfortable as your own house but we are trying to make it as good as we can by providing entertainment, counselors, a school for the children". Another volcano, Mount Sinabung on Sumatra, has been erupting since 2010.

CVMPG as well as the provincial government of Bali maintained that it was safe to travel to the island and a plan had been prepared to divert planes bound for Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport in case of an eruption.

There are more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, made up of thousands of islands on the "Ring of Fire" of fault lines and volcanoes in the Pacific.

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