Bali evacuees surge as volcano threat grows


Indonesia's volcanology agency said the number of people who have been evacuated from their homes in Bali has climbed to almost 100,000 by Wednesday (Sept 27) as fears of an imminent eruption grow.

"We've got like 20, 30, 40 shakes where you could feel the earth shaking", Lange, 30, told AFP.

Indonesian authorities raised the alert level for Mt. Agung in Bali to level 4, the highest alert level classification, signifying the possibility of volcanic eruption.

BNPB said that around 62,000 people lived within the "danger zone" around the volcano and that they all needed to evacuate, though not everybody had heeded the warnings.

"Instrumentally, we have never recorded such high energy or seismicity from Mount Agung", said seismologist Devy Kamil Syahbana. "The lava and rocks had already been flowing near my house".

Around 10,000 animals have also been evacuated from the flanks of the volcano, about 75 kilometres (47 miles) from the tourist hub of Kuta.

An elderly woman who survived that eruption said evacuation instructions had come much earlier this time.

One of the 500 evacuation centres in Klungkung Bali
One of the 500 evacuation centres in Klungkung Bali

Indonesia's government has set aside a relief fund of almost $US150m, while the country's disaster agency has dispatched face masks, mattresses, blankets and tents to vulnerable areas.

Five mobile sirens have been installed in the danger zone to warn residents in the event of an eruption.

The volcano in Bali last erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,100 people.

"The island is safe except for areas around Mount Agung".

Meanwhile, thousands of cows have been left behind by villagers fleeing the volcano.

Nugroho said Mount Agung has entered a "critical phase", meaning magma has risen closer to the surface, as indicated by hundreds of shallow volcanic tremors that have rattled the area in recent days.

Bali attracts millions of foreign visitors annually to its palm-fringed beaches and an eruption would be a blow to its tourism-dependent economy.

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