Mount Agung: Bali Volcano Threatens Thousands

Bali has been on high alert since last week, following a series of tremors that seismologists say makes the Mount Agung volcano increasingly likely, and now more than 120,000 people have evacuated parts of the Indonesian island.

The Associated Press quotes one man on his way out:

“I was very worried about the situation” said Nyoman Suarta, who was leaving a village a few kilometers outside the official no-go radius. “So I decided to get out to save myself with my stuff and my pet,” he said, carrying a cage housing a bird.

The official exclusion zone extends 12 kilometers from the volcano, based on the last time Mount Agung erupted in 1963, killing 1,700 people, CNN reports.

Bali’s main tourist areas of Kuta and Seminyak lie 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the volcano, well outside the exclusion zone. Officials have said those areas are safe from the expected volcanic ability and airports remain open so far.

While the only volcano I’ve witnessed up close was Mount Merapi up close during my visit to Central Java, the danger lurking beneath the Earth’s surface felt very real. My hope is that the risk for all local residents and visitors passes quickly and without incident.

(Photo of Mount Agung by Bruno J. Navarro)

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