Fear of volcano eruption has struck Bali after hundreds of small tremors hit the Indonesian resort island earlier this week. Authorities have raised alert levels for Mount Agung volcano – it could erupt for the first time in more than 50 years – reported AFP. The volcano, which is about 75 kilometers from Kuta, is a popular tourist destination and hiking spot. It has been rumbling since August, soon after which the officials have banned people from venturing within 7.5 kilometers of its summit, as per the report. However, no volcanic ash has been seen spewing from the crater. Mount Agung last erupted in 1963, killing at least 1000 people, reported AFP.
About 350 people were evacuated from their homes on Monday after small tremors rattled the mountain in the past two days. They however, returned to their homes the next day. The head of Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency, Willem Rampangilei was quoted by AFP as saying, “Even though seismicity is not as sharp as two days ago, as much as 480 seconds of tremors have occurred. The community must remain vigilant.”
Bali’s Governor, Made Mangku Pastika, tried to reassure worried locals that all measures were in place to cope with a possible eruption. “This is a natural disaster, we cannot avoid it, we can’t stop it exploding but we can reduce the number of victims and losses,” Pastikawas quoted by ABC as saying. He said authorities had prepared locations for residents to store motorbikes, cars and even livestock to reduce losses.”
The resort island is a top holiday destination that attracts millions of foreign tourists every year. The airport on Bali has not been affected but airport management is watching the situation closely. “All flight activities are still normal, there is no cancellation or volcanic ash,” Yanus Suprayogi, a spokesman for Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport, told AFP.