Thousands on the Indonesian island of Bali evacuated

Thousands on the Indonesian island of Bali evacuated

According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, 57,428 people, mostly Balinese, have been evacuated from the areas around Agung, seeking shelter in hundreds of village halls and sports centres, and in the homes of relatives in more than nine districts.

Balinese man watches Mount Agung volcano nearly covered with clouds as he stands at a temple in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017.

The Indonesian national disaster agency (BNPB) said there had been more than 560 deep volcanic earthquakes recorded on Monday alone.

Mount Agung's eruptions in 1963 were among the most powerful and devastating last century in Indonesia, a country with more than 120 active volcanoes.

The Karangasem regency, located closest to Mount Agung, is housing the largest number of evacuees at just over 21,000 people.

"Instrumentally we have never recorded such high energy or seismicity from Mount Agung", Devy Kamil Syahbana, a seismologist from Indonesia's centre for volcanology and geological hazard mitigation, told the Guardian. Detection techniques have improved so we know better how to expect the eruption, and infrastructure was also improved, meaning that more people could evacuate quickly and safely.

"This morning we were anxious because we had limited rice supply, but now we have received more rice stocks from donors", Subandi said.

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"There are some who are staying behind because the volcano hasn't erupted yet or because of religious beliefs", Mr Sutopo said.

Volcanologists say the March eruption hurled ash 19 to 26 kilometers (12 to 16 miles) above sea level and the May explosion about 20 kilometers.

The two major eruptions, in March and May, produced a 7.5 kilometer river of lava, deadly white-hot clouds of ash, gas and rock fragments at ground level called pyroclastic flows and lahars, an Indonesian term for an often fast-moving and fatal slurry of volcanic debris and water.

"This is the heaviest test in my live and hopefully it will end soon", said Ketut Suliasih, a Selat villager.

"No eruption. That is my prayer".

President Joko Widodo and First Lady Iriana Jokowi are scheduled on Tuesday (9/26/2017) to visit Mount Agung's evacuees in Bali Province and will hand over aids worth more than IDR7.1 billion.

It is situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. The central government has a relief fund totalling almost $150 million to meet the cost of natural disasters, which could be tapped in case of an eruption.

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