Thousands Evacuated from Area Surrounding Volcano in Bali

Mount Agung is seen from a nearby village in Karangasem Bali Indonesia on Sunday

It last erupted in 1963, killing about 1,100 people.

Thousands of evacuees are living in temporary shelters, sports centres, village halls and with relatives or friends.

The airport in Bali's capital Denpasar, through which millions of foreign tourists pass every year, has not been affected. A significant eruption would force the closure of Bali's global airport, stranding thousands.

The 35-year-old said he sold the family's cow because they did not know when they would be able to return.

"The hardest work in handling disasters is evacuating people, telling people to evacuate is not easy, especially in Bali", Governor I Made Mangku Pastika said.

If Mount Agung does erupt, an additional 50,000 people may end up in shelters, Governor Mangku Pastika said, according to ABC.

The volcano, located about 75 kilometres from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August.

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Officials are urging people to stay at least 6 miles from the volcano's crater.

"Based on all observations, the potential of eruption of the volcano is high", said Sutopo.

Officials are trying to minimize any impact this time, asserting that the rest of Bali remains safe for tourists. "However, no one can predict exactly when there will be an eruption".

The 1963 eruption of Mount Agung killed more than 1,000 people and devastated many villages. For example the Ngurah Rai International Airport is operating as usual, while there have not been reports of disruptions to tourism operators (with the exception of tourism within the 12-kilometer exclusion zone around Mount Agung).

"The chances of an eruption are very high, but we can not be sure when it will erupt", he said at a news conference in the capital, Jakarta. Continuing, he said: "Based on the current prevailing winds blowing from the east-southeast, the pattern of any clouds of volcanic ash will be to the west and north of Mount Agung". The U.S.is advising against any visits to the volcano, warning that an eruption could disrupt flights. "We take turns going back to feed them".

The spokesman said there are thousands of villagers remaining in the evacuation zone now. A government humanitarian effort is also underway with some 14 tons of aid sent.

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