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Ready to erupt Mt Agung volcano triggers mass evacuations on Bali

Screenshot 2017-10-02 13.10.40Authorities on the Indonesia holiday isle of Bali have declared a no-go zone around Mt Agung. The island is on high alert as scientists say the smouldering volcano is probably going to erupt in the very near future.

The off-limits zone has a circumference of 12kms from the crater of Mt Agung. The volcano is in the east of the island and just 40kms from dive tour towns such as Amed and Tulamben and their stunning beaches. Tourist zone central Kuta is about 80kms away.

Residents living within the exclusion zone have left their homes and dispersed to other areas of the island as well as across the Lombok Strait to the island of Lombok. Over the weekend, disaster mitigation officials said the number of islanders who had evacuated was approaching the 140,000 mark.

The officials noted this is twice the number who live in the off-limits area and an indication people believe Agung’s venting is a clear sign an eruption is looming. Disaster mitigation officers noted that all the extra people who had fled need not have done so and could return to their homes if they wanted to.

Tourists have also taken heed of the eruption alert and the black sands of Amed, Tulamben and other eastern Bali beaches are bereft of sunworshippers. Mt Agung has been on imminent eruption status for more than a week. The last time the volcano erupted, in 1963, it claimed the lives of 1,100 people.

Older Balinese who survived the 1963 disaster say they are better informed this time around. They say advance warning mechanisms are in place and these will give them all the notice they need to evacuate in a timely fashion.

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