Agung Watch Update: Volcano now on highest alert level as 10,000 people flee

Villagers rest after being evacuated during the raised alert levels for the volcano on Mount Agung in Klungkung regency on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on September 22, 2017. Photo: Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP
Villagers rest after being evacuated during the raised alert levels for the volcano on Mount Agung in Klungkung regency on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on September 22, 2017. Photo: Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP

Indonesian officials raised the highest possible alert for a volcano on the resort island of Bali late Friday, after tremors prompted thousands to flee over fears it could erupt for the first time in more than 50 years.

Mount Agung, about 75 kilometers (47 miles) from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August and officials have recommended that people stay at least nine kilometers away from the crater.

Hundreds of small tremors have rattled the mountain this week, causing almost 10,000 people to leave their homes as of Friday over fears of a volcanic eruption.

“Tremors happen very often, so we are afraid and I have taken all my family members to the refugee shelter,” villager I Wayan Suwarjana told AFP.

READ: Agung Watch 2017: Monkeys and snakes seen coming down the Bali volcano

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho advised people to stay calm and not to believe rumors.

The airport on Bali’s capital Denpasar, a top holiday destination that attracts millions of foreign tourists every year, has not been affected but airport management are watching the situation closely.

The Australian government put out a travel advisory Friday instructing travelers to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia and follow the instructions of authorities.

More than 1,000 people died when Mount Agung last erupted in 1963.


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