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Villagers watching Mount Agung
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/F. Lisnawati
Catastrophe

120,000 flee Bali on volcano eruption alert

September 28, 2017

More than 120,000 people have fled the region around Mount Agung on the Indonesian island of Bali. Vanuatu, also on the Pacific Ring of Fire, has evacuated one of its islands as the Manaro volcano threatens to erupt.

https://p.dw.com/p/2kqXq

Nyoman Parwata, an official at the disaster migration agency's command post in Bali, said the number of evacuees on the Indonesian resort island has increased to 122,500, fearing Mount Agung will soon erupt.

The evacuees are scattered in over 500 locations across the island, taking shelter in temporary camps, sports centers and public buildings. The exclusion zone around the volcano extends in some parts as far as 12 kilometers (7.5 miles), but officials said people farther from the mountain are leaving too.

Infographic Mount Agung Bali

"They are afraid of being hit in case of an eruption," said Gede Sumartana, an official at an emergency post dealing with the displaced in Karangasem district.

Read more: Why an eruption of Mount Agung is so dangerous

Indonesian officials raised the alert status of Mount Agung to the highest level last week. The mountain, which sits about 70 kilometers northeast of Kuta, is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

Vanuatu evacuates entire island

In Vanuatu, the authorities are in the process of evacuating Ambae Island as the Manaro volcano threatens to erupt. It's the first time an entire island is being evacuated. All 11,000 inhabitants are being sent to nearby Pentecost Island by October 6. Like Bali, Vanuatu is on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, which means it is subject to reular earthquakes and volcano eruptions.

Vanuatu Manaro volcano
Manaro volcano on Ambae Island, Vanuatu is threatening to eruptImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/New Zealand Defense Force

Ambae is one of about 65 inhabited islands in the Pacific nation, which is located about one-quarter of the way from Australia to Hawaii.

Volcanologists have not been able to predict when exactly the volcanos will erupt, but the dramatic increase in tremors recently indicates an eruption is imminent.

In Bali, Agung dominates the landscape, a tourist island famed for its lavish beaches and green interior and Hindu culture. The volcano last erupted in 1963, killing around 1,100 people. It remained active for about a year, producing deadly clouds of hot ash, gases and rock fragments that traveled at great speeds down the mountain.

ng, dv/sms (AP, dpa)

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