Rumbling Bali volcano 'at critical stage,' disaster official says

The sun sets behind Mount Agung yesterday

The sun sets behind Mount Agung yesterday

Mount Agung volcano in Karang Asem district has been in the highest alert level as its seismic energy is increasing and has the potential to erupt, spokesman from the national disaster management agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

More than 75,000 people have now been evacuated from an exclusion zone around the volcano, which is around 70 kilometers (43 miles) north of Bali's main tourist areas of Kuta and Seminyak.

Then, lava spewed 7.5 km (4.7 miles) while ash was hurled as high as 20 kilometres (12 miles) and blew as far as the Indonesian capital Jakarta some 1,000km (620 miles) away, to the west.

"Some of our Bali bound flights will be making fuel stops in Darwin".

Emeritus Professor Richard John Arculus from the Australian National University wrote that although infrequent, eruptions of Mount Agung have been among the largest of the past 100 years of global volcanic activity.

Around 62,000 people lived in the danger zone before the evacuations, according to the agency, but residents just outside the area have also left as a precaution.

The government's humanitarian assistance plan will see the distribution of hundreds of thousands of face masks. Tourists visiting Bali should remain vigilant about the situation as a possible eruption probably will affect flight availability to and from Bali's airport due to ash plumes. "The earthquakes are happening less frequently but the magnitude is getting stronger", Gede Suantika, a senior volcanologist at the agency told AFP.

A woman and child sit in a tent at a temporary evacuation center for people living near Mount Agung, outside a sports arena in Klungkung, on the resort island of Bali, Indonesia.

"Agung volcano is said to be close to erupting and the Bali island just shaken by a M4.2 quake".

"So I ask all people around Mount Agung to follow instructions from the officials and minimize the impact of this volcano".

"We hope this time it will not be that big, but we need to be prepared for the worst case scenario and prioritise vigilance", Kasbani told Metro TV.

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