Ex­o­dus from Bali vol­cano nears 100,000 as tremors in­ten­sify

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Front Page -

BALI, In­done­sia -- The ex­o­dus from a men­ac­ing vol­cano on the In­done­sian tourist is­land of Bali is near­ing 100,000 peo­ple, a dis­as­ter of­fi­cial said Wed­nes­day, as hun­dreds of tremors from the moun­tain are recorded daily.

The Na­tional Dis­as­ter Mit­i­ga­tion Agency said more than 96,000 peo­ple have now fled the area around Mount Agung in the north­east of the is­land.

Vil­lagers be­gan leav­ing in the mid­dle of last week and the num­ber of evac­uees has swelled daily since Fri­day, when the vol­cano’s alert sta­tus was raised to the high­est level.

The agency said a mon­i­tor­ing cen­ter had recorded more than 800 earthquakes so far Wed­nes­day and thin smoke was ob­served ris­ing 50 me­ters (160 feet) above the crater.

The vol­cano last erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,100 peo­ple, and re­mained ac­tive for about a year.

Agency spokesman Su­topo Purwo Nu­groho said the chances of an erup­tion are “quite big,” although ex­perts can’t pre­dict when with cer­tainty.

The peo­ple who have fled the vol­cano are scat­tered across Bali in more than 400 dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing tem­po­rary camps, sports cen­ters and other pub­lic build­ings.

In Karangasem dis­trict, vol­un­teers were help­ing with classes for some of the thou­sands of chil­dren whose schools within the ex­clu­sion zone around the vol­cano are now closed.

“So far the chil­dren look happy and are en­joy­ing them­selves,” said vol­un­teer Yenni Ariyanti. “They do not look wor­ried or sad. Hope­fully we can con­tinue to main­tain their ex­cite­ment and keep them in good spir­its.”

The Min­istry of Trans­port says it’s ready to de­ploy 100 buses to take stranded tourists off Bali if an erup­tion forces the clo­sure of its in­ter­na­tional air­port.

The moun­tain, about 70 kilo­me­ters (45 miles) to the north­east of the tourist hotspot of Kuta, is among more than 120 ac­tive vol­ca­noes in In­done­sia.

An­other vol­cano, Mount Sinabung, has been erupt­ing spo­rad­i­cally since 2010, some­times blast­ing vol­canic ash sev­eral kilo­me­ters (miles) into the air and forc­ing more than 30,000 to evac­u­ate their vil­lages.

In­done­sia, an ar­chi­pel­ago 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.

(AP)

In this Sept. 26, 2017, file photo, a Ba­li­nese man watches Mount Agung vol­cano covered with clouds at a tem­ple in Karangasem, Bali, In­done­sia. Warn­ings that a vol­cano on the In­done­sian tourist is­land of Bali will erupt have sparked an ex­o­dus of more than 75,000 peo­ple that is likely to con­tinue to swell, the coun­try's dis­as­ter agency said.

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