Two separate expected volcanic eruptions spur evacuations on Bali and Ambae

Posted September 30, 2017

There have been tremors around Mount Agung since August, as the volcano on the tourist island threatens to erupt for the first time in 50 years.

Officials at an evacuation centre in Klungkung district said 122,490 people had left their homes, taking refuge at almost 500 makeshift shelters or moving in with relatives. Both Mount Agung and Manaro volcano are now at level 4 on the volcano alert scale, the highest level on the Indonesian volcano alert scale and the second highest level on Vanuatu's scale.

Thousands of people have been relocated as Manaro volcano on Ambae and Mount Agung on Bali are threatening to erupt. "Volcanic earthquakes are estimated to be below the crater to a depth of 20 km from the top of the volcano", Kasbani said.

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This week Indonesia's national disaster agency has sent face masks, mattresses, blankets and tents for evacuees, who have also been provided with food.

Agung, about 70 kilometres (45 miles) to the northeast of the tourist hotspot of Kuta, is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

The Indonesian Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said yesterday that remote satellite sensing had picked up new steam emissions and thermal areas within the crater.

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"It can also mean the volcano is rebuilding the pressure", he said, citing last week's seismicity data, which showed a decrease in energy followed by a sharp increase.

"We've set a target to evacuate 20,000 more cows from the affected areas", Nugroho said.

Elsewhere, the threat of a separate volcanic eruption on the Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu prompted authorities on Thursday to order the compulsory evacuation of the entire island of Ambae, home to 11,000 people.

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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. More than 130,000 people have fled the area around Mount Agung, fearing a major eruption.