Published: Thu, September 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Indonesia raises Bali volcano alert

Indonesia raises Bali volcano alert

Indonesian authorities have raised the alert level as volcanic activity intensified at Bali's Mount Agung, according to reports on Tuesday (Sep 19).

Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency announced Monday that an exclusion zone of almost five miles would be established around the volcano's crater and would stay in place for at least 14 days.

Indonesia, an archipelagic nation with over 17,500 islands, has a total of 129 active volcanoes.

Locals living near Mount Agung volcano have also been seen evacuating their homes and groups of people were also seen gathering at a lookout point to watch Mount Agung for eruption. The decision to raise the alert again was probably at least partially based on what is described as a thermal signal in or near the crater and a gray ash plume from the volcano, although it was soon confirmed that the latter came from a forest fire and not from any eruptive volcanic activity.

The volcano is approximately 70 km from the tourist hotspot Kuta, and is a popular hiking spot for visitors.

"Even though the seismicity is not as sharp as it was two days ago, there were 480 seconds of tremor, with a shallow quake of two km and a magma depth of five km, the public must remain vigilant" said the officer of Mount Agung monitoring post.

He said: "This is a natural disaster, we cannot avoid it, we can't stop it exploding but we can reduce the number of victims and loses".

Bali's Governor, I Made Mangku Pastika, has urged people to remain calm, saying their is an emergency plan of action in place.

"If you have to evacuate, you evacuate".

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