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Fearing eruption, thousands evacuate

A police officer take a photo through his smartphone as they patrol past abandoned houses in Besakih which is located a few kilometers away from the mountain’s slopes, Bali, Indonesia, Sept. 25, 2017. More than 35,000 people have fled a menacing volcano on the Indonesia tourist island of Bali, fearing will erupt for the first time in more than half a century as increasing tremors rattle the region. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Fearing eruption of volcano, thousands begin evacuations in Bali

Nearly 50,000 people have fled the Mount Agung volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali, fearing an imminent eruption as dozens of tremors rattle the surrounding region, officials said Monday.

Waskita Sutadewa, spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency in Bali, said people have scattered to all corners of the island and some have crossed to the neighboring island of Lombok.

Indonesian authorities raised the volcano’s alert status to the highest level on Friday following a dramatic increase in seismic activity. It last erupted in 1963, killing about 1,100 people.

Thousands of evacuees are living in temporary shelters, sports centers, village halls and with relatives or friends. Some return to the danger zone, which extends up to 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the crater, during the day to tend to livestock.

Officials have said there’s no immediate threat to tourists, but some are already cutting short their stays in Bali. A significant eruption would force the closure of Bali’s international airport, stranding thousands. (AP)

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