Eruption fears as 57000 flee Bali volcano amid tremors

The sun sets behind Mount Agung yesterday

"Business is getting low since Mount Agung's alert status was raised to the highest level", said Ketut Purnawata, manager of Dasawana Resort, which is in the same district as the volcano, normally popular with tourists and hikers.

At 11am BST EMSC, an independent scientific organisation that provides real-time natural disaster warnings, tweeted: "Strongest quake so far while the volcano may be about to erupt".

Mount Agung could erupt imminently officials have warnedWhen is Mount Agung expected to erupt?

It is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

Hundreds of tremors were recorded on Monday at Mount Agung, in an increase of volcanic activity. He said an eruption is a "definite possibility".

Vehicles laden with food, masks and bedding have been dispatched to help more than 57,000 people who have fled a volcano on the tourist island of Bali, as rising magma and increased tremors fuel fears of an imminent eruption.

The Jakarta Post reports that farmers on the slopes around the mountain have been reluctant to leave their livestock behind, leading authorities to set up cattle shelters.

"While the government will continue to try to minimize the economic losses of the community, the most important priority is the safety of the people here", Widodo told reporters.




If Mount Agung erupts, it will be the volcano's first since 1963 - when more than 1,000 people died.

Trekking tours on the mountain have been cancelled by operators but officials have otherwise been at pains to assure tourists the island is safe.

"We have already sold our cattle, because we thought it was better than leaving them there for nothing", he said.

Many Indonesians live near volcanoes because lava flows can make the surrounding soil and land fertile for farming. Aside from the evacuations, however, it's business as usual on Bali.

Tarsisia Ni Nyoman Juliarti told ucanews.com that she and her family fled their home in Padangkerta, in Karangasem district on September 23 "because we fear an eruption".

Singapore Airlines and its short-haul arm SilkAir said customers travelling to Bali until October 2 could rebook or request a refund, while AirAsia said flights were operating normally.

Australians are being advised to check with their airline before flying and to follow all authorities and hotel staff instruction if travelling to Bali.

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