Evacuations from Indonesian volcano approach 50000

Posted September 29, 2017

The Indonesian disaster agency's 134,200 figure is more than double the population of the 12km exclusion zone around the mountain, but people from further afield are leaving too.

A villager rides by, with Mount Agung seen in the background, in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, Sept. 24, 2017.

The entire population of Ambae is being moved from the path of the "increasingly active" Marano volcano, also known as Lombenben, according to the Pacific nation's government.

More than 120,000 people have fled their homes because of fears a volcano will erupt soon.

Volcanologists say the past week's dramatic escalation in tremors indicates an eruption is more likely than not, but they can't say with certainty when it will happen. People in local villages could experience the danger of flying rocks, volcanic gases and acid rain, the statement added.

Mount Sinabung on Sumatra, an Indonesian island 2,250km from Bali, has been erupting periodically since 2010, belching a kilometres-high cloud of ash that has forced over 30,000 people to evacuate.

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Disaster officials are now working with the police, the military, and aid organizations like the Red Cross to dispatch vehicles filled with food, water, blankets and other necessities to evacuation centers. "I think there are some people that either don't understand, or don't believe, or are just stubborn and don't want to go", said Kenny Peavy, an American expat who fled with his family last Friday.

Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport is the second-busiest in the country, after Jakarta's main international airport.

The last eruption was recorded in 1963, Mount Agung has been slowly building up to an eruption since August.

The animals are extremely valuable to the evacuees - mostly farmers - some of whom have refused to leave the danger zone, the spokesman said.

The 3,031-meter Mount Agung volcano in Karang Asem district is in the highest alert status with continuing hike of seismic activity.