Locals, animals flee with fears Bali volcano could erupt at anytime

A series of eruptions at Mount Agung between 1963 and 1964 killed more than 1,000 people and injured hundreds. It remained active for about a year. "So I made a decision to get out to save myself with my stuff and my pet", he said, carrying a bird in a cage.

"Instrumentally, we have never recorded such high energy or seismicity from Mount Agung", said seismologist Devy Kamil Syahbana.

A natural disaster has been declared in parts of Bali with fears the island's largest volcano could erupt at anytime. The increase in tremors suggests an eruption is "imminent", she said. "Sirens will sound and tell the community the mountain has erupted".

Spewing steam and sending tremors through the area, the volcano's alert status was raised to the highest level last week.

Local animal husbandry officials are attempting to evacuate the rest but it's slow going partly because of the limited number of trucks available and have removed only about 1,400 so far.

"Bali tourism is safe".

Since then, tens of thousands of villagers have been urged to abandon their homes beneath the menacing volcano.

The Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) also warned residents and tourists to avoid areas within the 12-kilometer radius of the crater.

"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.

Indonesia has almost 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

Hundreds of domestic and global flights were disrupted in 2016 when a volcano erupted on Bali's neighbouring Lombok island, sending columns of ash and debris into the air.

Elsewhere, the threat of a separate volcanic eruption on the Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu prompted authorities on Thursday to order the compulsory evacuation of the entire island of Ambae, home to 11,000 people.

  • Rogelio Becker