More than 120000 flee rumbling Bali volcano


As Indonesia's Mount Agung volcano threatens to erupt, an alert was raised to the highest level and more than 120,000 people have evacuated, officials said.

"The total number of tremors has decreased, but if we compare the strength [of tremors] it is definitely increasing", said Gede Suantika, an official at national vulcanology agency.

Officials this week installed warning sirens in several townships.

"It is hard for residents to determine their real positions in terms of their proximity to Mount Agung".

He added that other units from the joint team were scouting locations where temporary cattle pens could be built, while identifying local sources of food and water for the cattle.

Almost 50,000 people have fled their homes near the Mount Agung volcano, with tremors continuing to increase in intensity and frequency.

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The mount Agung, at a little more than 3,000 meters of altitude and located about 75 kilometers of the main tourist destinations of Kuta and Seminyak, growls since the month of August and could erupt for the first time in more than a half-century.

Indonesia, which sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, has almost 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

A volcano in Vanuatu - a Pacific archipelago that also sits on the seismic arc - this week forced 7,000 people to flee after it rained rocks and ash on villages. The Alert Status (Level 4) is still maintained.

Kasbani, head volcanologist said: "If we look at the magnitude, it continues to increase, yesterday we also felt several quakes with the magnitude of three on the Richter scale".

The worldwide airport of Denpasar, Bali's capital city, which welcomes every year millions of tourists, is not affected for the time being.

That they're showing signs of erupting at the same time is pure coincidence, said Benjamin Andrews, of the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program.