Expats and tourists flee Bali volcano as alert raised

Published:  26 Sep at 6 PM
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Tourists and expats on the popular Indonesian island of Bali are growing ever more anxious as the likelihood of a volcanic eruption increases.

Increasing seismic activity around the Mount Agung volcano has caused Indonesian officials to close off the surrounding area, with warnings of the likelihood of an imminent eruption given to around 200,000 residents of the island. Located on the Pacific Ring of Fire some 72kms from the resort of Kuta, the volcano produced 500 earth tremors in just one day, an indication that pressure from below is building up prior to an eruption.

Expats and locals are packing their belongings and leaving for safer areas and tourists are anxiously checking whether flights are still available. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs has posted a travel warning, pointing out that ash clouds from an eruption would impact all flights in to and from the region. All airlines serving Bali are closely monitoring the volcano’s activity, although at present the island’s international airport is functioning as normal.

The volcano last erupted in 1963, sending a pyroclastic flow which killed over a thousand people and ash clouds as high as 10kms. A repeat of the flow could engulf 10kms in just over two minutes. One photojournalist’s report stated residents of neighbouring province Sebudi were packing and leaving, and villagers in Temukus were evacuated late last night due to continuing earth tremors.

Geologists are apparently concerned about a lull in volcanic activity which may suggest an imminent explosion. Indonesia, especially the island of Bali, is equally popular with tourists and expats for its stunning natural beauty, many species of animals and birds and the friendliness of its people. According to Indonesia’s volcano monitoring body, Mount Agung’s erupts with unusually violent explosions and wide-ranging flows of lava, ash and rocks.
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