Bali, Indonesia. Sept 23rd: Scientists have detected a ‘tremendous increase’ in seismic activity at Mount Agung leading to evacuation of over 11300 people over fears its volcano near the resort island of Bali in Indonesia is about to blow for the first time in more than half a century. Gusts of visible smoke escaped from the top of the active volcano and seismic tremors shook the ground. Mount Agung volcano last erupted in 1963, killing 1,100 people.
Authorities raised the volcano’s alert status to the highest level ( 4 out of 4) on Friday following a “tremendous increase” in seismic activity.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said no-one should be within 9km (6 miles) of the crater and 12km (7.5 miles) to the north, north-east, south-east and south-southwest.
Waskita Sutadewa, spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency in Karangasem district around Mount Agung, said nearly 11,300 villagers have been officially evacuated. He said the real number of displaced might be two or three times that, since many have voluntarily fled their homes.
Photo: Mount Agung, an active volcano
Officials said there is no current danger to people in other parts of Bali, a popular tourist island famous for its surfing, beaches and elegant Hindu culture.
In its last eruption in 1963, the 3,031m (9,944 feet) Agung hurled ash as high as 10km (6 miles) and remained active for about a year.
The mountain, 72km (45 miles) to the north-east of the tourist hotspot Kuta, is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.
The country of thousands of islands is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.