Almost 1,35000 Bali residents leave homes fearing volcanic eruption

130,000 People Relocated As Mount Agung Steam Cloud Forms

Mount Agung, 75km from the resort hub of Kuta, has been shaking since last month and threatening to erupt for the first time since 1963 - a potential blow to the island's lucrative tourism industry.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) told Efe news that although the exclusion zone established around the volcano was now practically empty, a few residents had refused to leave, unwilling to abandon their livestock. Those evacuated have taken shelter in makeshift evacuation centers. Both Mount Agung and Manaro volcano are now at level 4 on the volcano alert scale, the highest level on the Indonesian volcano alert scale and the second highest level on Vanuatu's scale.

A rumbling volcano on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali is spewing steam and sulphurous fumes with more intensity, heightening fears of an eruption as officials said the number of evacuees had topped 144,000.

Despite the significant increase in estimated evacuees, the government said it was prepared.

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Authorities have declared an area up to 12 kilometers from the crater off-limits. "We urge tourists to continue visiting", the letter said.

"The danger line on the map is not clearly visible on the field, hence many people are afraid", he said.

The Mount Agung is seen from the Purahayu village in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia on 27 September 2017.

"It can also mean the volcano is rebuilding the pressure", he said, citing last week's seismicity data, which showed a decrease in energy followed by a sharp increase.

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Ambae island's 11,000 residents have been evacuated by boat and helicopter.

Volcanologists say the past week's dramatic escalation in tremors indicates an eruption is more likely than not, but they can't say with certainty when it will happen. "There are some who are staying behind because the volcano hasn't erupted yet or because of religious beliefs".

The 1963 eruption killed around 1,500 people.

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