Bali Volcano Fears Spark Exodus of 75000

As of Friday Indonesia's Mount Agung is on the highest alert level for

Almost 50,000 people have evacuated their homes for fear of an imminent volcanic eruption on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, disaster officials said.

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.

"It is not easy to handle a volcanic eruption because there is no certainty when it's going to happen, or if it's going to happen at all", he said. Mount Agung is now under the highest level volcano alert, and over 75,000 people living near the mountain have evacuated. The evacuees are living in temporary shelters, sports centers, village halls and with relatives or friends.

Despite imminent danger, however, thousands of others were still refusing to leave for fear that their possessions, including cattle, would be stolen, officials said.

The Agung Volcano in Bali Island, which is most tourist area in country, was last to explode in 1963, when about 1,000 people lost ir lives in explosion.

In a televised news conference, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said "the highest priority is the safety of our people" and urged those around Mount Agung to follow the instructions of authorities. "But no one knows, we just pray".

The increased frequency of tremors shows the magma continuing to move towards the surface, with the mountain entering a "critical phase", the spokesman said.

Thousands of villagers on the Indonesian resort island of Bali are now living in sports centres village halls and with relatives fearing Mount Agung will
50000 evacuate as Bali volcano swells

The estimated number of people who should evacuate is 62,000, but officials said the actual number is higher because of confusion about the danger zone on the map - leaving many unable to distinguish whether they live in the zone, and so they've fled as a precaution.

Many tourists in region with a high risk of explosion had to cut off holidays on island of Bali.

"We have already sold our cattle, because we thought it was better than leaving them there for nothing", he said.

Indonesia has about 120 active volcanoes.

If there's an eruption it could force the closure of Bali's global airport.

British holidaymakers are being warned that volcanic ash clouds could cause flight disruption - and travel warnings have also been issued by the US, Singapore and Australia.

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