More than 50,000 people have been evacuated from the area near an active volcano in Bali amid fears it could erupt at any moment.
Officials have been tracking the movements of Mount Agung since August, and raised the alert level on 14 September. Now, the area has been raised to a level four – the highest tier on the alert system.
Last time Mount Agung erupted – in 1963 – more than 1,000 people died.
There are still around 12,000 people waiting to be evacuated, and officials fear that there might not be enough shelters in place to house everyone.
As a result, local public halls have been warned they may have to step in and become makeshift shelters, too.
‘The biggest challenge is we can’t predict the number of evacuees.’ said Putu Widiada, head of the local disaster management agency in Klungkung district.
There are nearly 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, and many people choose to live nearby as the soil is better for farming.
The area is far more densely populated than the previous eruption, but also has far more precautions in place for this sort of natural disaster.
Although residents have been moved away from the volcano, many are still visiting their homes during the day and spending time in the area.
The local tourism board has said that travel is still scheduled to go ahead, and no flights are currently disrupted.
‘The latest analysis indicates that Mount Agung’s seismic energy is increasing and has the potential to erupt.’ the National Vulcanology Centre said in a statement.
‘However, no one can predict exactly when there will be an eruption.’ it concluded.
For the meantime, evacuations continue.
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