NEWS

Bali Volcano: More Than 75,000 Flee Mount Agung As Eruption Fears Grow

Travel advice for Australians hasn't changed.

27/09/2017 8:21 AM AEST | Updated 27/09/2017 5:32 PM AEST
Ulet Ifansasti via Getty Images
Bali's Mount Agung has the potential to erupt imminently.

More than 75,000 people, including Bali nine drug mule Scott Rush, have been forced to leave the area around Indonesia's Mount Agung amid mounting fears the volcano could erupt.

The volcano has for the last week been threatening to blow up, sending panic through the surrounding region and causing mass evacuations. The volcano is located 75 kilometres from the resort hub of Kuta, popular with Australian tourists.

Overnight, Indonesia's disaster agency said that the mountain was entering a "critical phase" including more frequent tremors and rising levels of molten magma.

The agency said that more than 75,000 people have left area around threatening volcano, warning that it could erupt at any time.

Among evacuees were almost 200 prisoners from Karangasem jail including former Sydney kickboxer Michael Sacatides and Bali nine drug mule Scott Rush, Fairfax Media reports.

Flights at Bali's international airport are still said to be operating as normal, with minimal disruption to tourism operators across the rest of Bali. However airlines are reportedly watching the situation carefully.

The Australian Government's advice to tourists headed to Indonesia remains unchanged, warning that Mount Agung has shown "recent increased volcanic activity".

"Local authorities have temporarily suspended all outdoor activities such as hiking and camping activities in proximity to the crater," the Smart Traveller site cautions.

"Monitor local media reports and follow the instructions of local authorities. An eruption of Mount Agung could impact air travel in the region."

Indonesia straddles the "Pacific Ring of Fire," where several tectonic plates converge causing the majoirity of the world's seismic activity, adding to fears of an eruption at Mount Agung.

The last time the volcano erupted was between 1963 and 1964 when more than 1,000 people lost their lives.

"There was [a] rain of ashes," one 70-year-old local, who was 16 during the last eruption, told the ABC.

"I wore a hat, but it was too big and heavy because of the ashes, so took it off.

"Those rocks and ashes fell to the eastern river and started flowing down."

Further to that, Mount Agung is not the only source of volcanic activity that is threatening local residents and tourists following reports of an eruption at the Manaro Voui volcano on the island of Ambae in Vanuatu.

It is believed that around 7,000 people in the Pacific archipelago's north were forced to flee their homes in light of the natural event, after a plume of steam and ash was sent flying into the sky from the volcano.

Local authorities have reportedly also increased the risk level of Manaro Voui from a category three to a category four, meaning that it currently sits at a "moderate eruption state".

A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) told HuffPost Australia in a statement that any Australian travellers within the immediate area of the volcano should proceed cautiously.

"The Australian Government is monitoring reports of volcanic activity at Ambae in Vanuatu. Australians in the area should monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities," the statement said.

More On This Topic