Authorities in Bali have increased the evacuation zone around Mount Agung to 9km as fears rise that an eruption is imminent.
Residents and tourists within a 12km radius to the north, north-east, south-east and south-southwest are being advised to evacuate, and local authorities are sweeping the area to make sure no-one is within striking distance should the active volcano erupt.
The volcano alert is currently at level 4, the highest possible, meaning that an eruption is extremely likely. The Indonesian Department of Meteorology, Climate and Geophysics has observed five small eruptions and a 1000-metre ash column emanating from the crater.
There’s also been a “tremendous increase” in volcanic activity, with locals feeling hundreds of small tremors. Almost 10,000 people have already evacuated the area.
Reports from local media are saying that snakes, apes and lizards are leaving the mountain – one of the “seven signs” of an oncoming eruption, according to local people.
The Australian government has issued a travel warning to punters with plans to visit Bali:
Local authorities have temporarily suspended all outdoor activities such as hiking and camping activities in proximity to the crater.
Monitor local media reports and follow the instructions of local authorities. An eruption of Mount Agung could impact air travel in the region. Contact your airline or tour operator to confirm travel plans.
Jetstar and Qantas flights are all still going ahead as scheduled, but if you’re one of the passengers, you might want to keep an eye on that.
Mt Agung last erupted 54 years ago, killing more than 1,000 people.Source: News.com.au
Image: Getty Images / Barcroft Media