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Volcano on Indonesia's Bali island at highest alert level, thousands evacuated
September 22, 2017 / 6:28 AM / a month ago

Volcano on Indonesia's Bali island at highest alert level, thousands evacuated

DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Thousands of residents were evacuated from villages near an active volcano on the Indonesian island of Bali, officials said on Friday, as the alert status was raised to the highest level, meaning an eruption could be imminent.

Mount Agung, an active volcano located on the resort island of Bali that has been placed on alert level 3 following recent seismic activity, is seen from Mataram on nearby Lombok island, Indonesia September 21, 2017, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken September 21, 2017. Antara Foto/Ahmad Subaidi/via REUTERS

Authorities warned tourists and residents to avoid camping or hiking within a 9 km (6 mile) radius of the crater as seismic tremors rattled some areas and smoke rose above one of the world’s most popular tourist spots.

“Volcanic activity remains high and there are indications of magma rising to the surface and causing tremors,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of the National Disaster Management Agency.

“There should be zero public activity within the specified radius in case there is an eruption,” Nugroho said.

However, flights at Bali’s international airport were operating as normal and there was little disruption to tourism operators across the rest of the island, authorities said.

A police officer searches for residents who did not evacuate an area close to the summit of Mount Agung following increased seismic activity on the volcano in Temukus village, Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia September 21, 2017, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken September 21, 2017. Antara Foto/Nyoman Budhiana/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. MANDATORY CREDIT. INDONESIA OUT.

Nearly 10,000 people have been evacuated so far and that number was expected to rise, officials said.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Others packed their belongings into trucks for evacuation, while more stopped to watch as clouds of white smoke rose from the crater, which is around 3,000 metres (9,840 feet) above sea level.

Indonesia straddles the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, where several tectonic plates meet and cause 90 percent of the world’s seismic activity, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

A series of eruptions at Mount Agung between 1963 and 1964 killed more than 1,000 people and injured hundreds.

Reporting by Reuters stringer in DENPASAR and Kartika in JAKARTA; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Paul Tait and Gareth Jones

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