Bali: Over 134000 evacuated as 'increasingly active' volcanoes continue to rumble

Mount Sinabung seen from Gundaling Hill on Sept. 13 2010

Mount Sinabung seen from Gundaling Hill on Sept. 13 2010

Spewing white smoke and sending tremors through the area, Mount Agung's alert status was raised to the highest level last week.

Head of Data and Public Relations Information Center of National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho explained that the increase in numbers of evacuees is caused by people living in potentially unaffected and safe areas are also fleeing their homes to evacuate.

"I was very anxious about the situation" said Nyoman Suarta, who lives in a village just outside the danger zone.

Thousands of people have been evacuated on the Indonesian island of Bali and on Ambae island in Vanuatu as two volcanoes threaten to erupt.

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The 3,031-metre Mount Agung last erupted for nearly a year in 1963 to 1964, killing about 1,200 people.

The last eruption of mount Agung dates back to 1963.

About 17,000 cattle need to be evacuated from the four Karangasem districts in the red zones of Mt Agung, which would be directly affected in the event of an eruption.

Meanwhile, thousands of cows have been left behind by villagers fleeing the volcano. "There are some who are staying behind because the volcano hasn't erupted yet or because of religious beliefs", said Nugroho.

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Bali is famous for its beaches and temples and saw almost 5 million visitors previous year, mainly from China, Australia, and Japan.

Agung, about 45 miles to the northeast of the tourist hotspot of Kuta, is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

Some tourists, however, were having second thoughts about their holiday plans after several countries, including Singapore and Australia, issued travel advisories warning of the risk from the volcano.

Anticipating an eruption, the indonesian authorities are planning to divert the flights to Bali to ten other airports, including on the neighbouring island of Lombok, but also to the capital Jakarta, on the island of Java.

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