50,000 evacuate as Bali volcano swells

“The chances of an eruption are very high, but we cannot be sure when it will erupt.”

Nearly 50,000 people have fled the Mount Agung volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali, fearing an imminent eruption as dozens of tremors rattle the surrounding region, officials said Monday.

Waskita Sutadewa, spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency in Bali, said people have scattered to all corners of the island and some have crossed to the neighbouring island of Lombok.

Indonesian authorities raised the volcano’s alert status to the highest level on Friday following a dramatic increase in seismic activity. It last erupted in 1963, killing about 1,100 people.

Thousands of evacuees are living in temporary shelters, sports centres, village halls and with relatives or friends. Some return to the danger zone, which extends up to 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) from the crater, during the day to tend to livestock.

Related: The search for survivors continues in Mexico

Officials have said there’s no immediate threat to tourists, but some are already cutting short their stays in Bali. A significant eruption would force the closure of Bali’s international airport, stranding thousands.

“It’s obviously an awful thing. We want to get out of here just to be safe,” said an Australian woman at Bali’s airport who identified herself as Miriam.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said hundreds of thousands of face masks will be distributed in Bali as part of government humanitarian assistance that includes thousands of mattresses and blankets.

“The chances of an eruption are very high, but we cannot be sure when it will erupt,” he said at a news conference in the capital, Jakarta.

He said not everyone had left the danger zone because they didn’t want to leave livestock, were underestimating the risk or because of religious reasons.

“Officers continue to sweep the area and are appealing for people to evacuate,” he said.

In 1963, the 3,031-meter (9,944-foot) Agung hurled ash as high as 20 kilometres (12 miles), according to volcanologists, and remained active for about a year. Lava travelled 7.5 kilometres (4.7 miles) and ash reached Jakarta, about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) away.

The mountain, 72 kilometres (45 miles) to the northeast of the tourist hotspot of 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.

___

Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini and Ali Kotarumalos in Jakarta contributed to this report.

Firdia Lisnawati, The Associated Press

 

Just Posted

County of Wetaskiwin won’t allow rec cannabis in campsites

If you want to smoke marijuana, you’ll have to go in the camper

Remembrance Day in Wetaskiwin

Pipers, buglers, veterans, soldiers and much more Nov. 11 in the Drill Hall

Rural crime task force results released at Agri-Trade luncheon

Report cites problems with police not being able to keep up with crime and justice system issues

JEDI AG Forum is fertile ground for Wetaskiwin region farmers

Canola production, farm transfer, grain elevator update and much more Nov. 23 in Wetaskiwin

Major traffic snarl on Hwy. #2 between Glen Park, #616

Motorists should plan for another route if possible, avoid area entirely

WATCH: Remembrance Day in Lacombe fills LMC

2018 marked 100 years since the end of First World War

Canada Post no longer guarantees delivery times amid more rotating strikes

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers closed two major processing centres in Ontario and B.C.

McGill students vote overwhelmingly to change Redmen team nickname

Student union held a referendum after a campaign by Indigenous students

Calgarians head to the polls to declare ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ on Winter Games

The question “are you for or are you against hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games?” was to be posed to them Tuesday in a plebiscite to help determine whether the city should move ahead with a bid.

Heir’s big birthday: 70 candles lined up for Prince Charles

Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, still serving in the heir to the throne role he has filled since he was a young child.

Trudeau lays down challenge to companies in bid to boost trade with Asia

“Building the relationships, building the connections, building the facility and also changing mindsets — getting Canadian companies to see the opportunities we have around the world to partner and invest.”

CNN sues Trump, demanding return of Acosta to White House

CNN is asking for an immediate restraining order to return Acosta to the White House.

US trial to tell epic tale of Mexican drug lord “El Chapo”

Guzman’s long-awaited U.S. trial begins Tuesday in New York

Northern California wildfire is deadliest in state history

Holding out slim hope as crews search for more fire dead; 42 already killed in blaze

Most Read