Mount Agung on Bali erupts

'Do not panic': Bali's Mount Agung begins erupting

Bali's Mt Agung volcano erupting but alert level remains unchanged

In 2010 Mount Merapi, considered one of the most active and risky volcanoes in the world, erupted and killed more than 300 people and forced 280,000 people to flee.

A spokesman for Indonesia's national disaster mitigation agency said via a text message that there had been a "phreatic eruption" with black smoke reaching 700 metres, followed by falling ash, gravel and sand.

"There is already ash fall".

"The PVMBG Emergency Response Team found [volcanic] ash, however, the intensity of the ash [falling on the villages] is still light", head of mitigation sub-directorate at PVMBG, Devi Kemal, said on Tuesday evening. It said that 29,245 people were staying in 278 evacuation camps.

More than 140,000 people evacuated the region when the alert was at its highest - but that number has now dropped to about 30,000 people.

However, "people in a radius of six kilometers from the mountain should evacuate the premises", especially in the district of Karangasem, the nearest to the volcano, said the volcanologist Gede Suantika.

The volcano, which is located 75km from the resort hub of Kuta, last erupted in 1963, killing almost 1,600 people.

After initial tremors in September Bali's Mount Agung has finally begun to erupt. Source 7 News
After initial tremors in September Bali's Mount Agung has finally begun to erupt. Source 7 News

The alert level remains at three after it was downgraded from the maximum level of four on October 29 after Agung started rumbling intermittently in August.

"It's a minor eruption, but not explosive one", said the center's chief Kasbani, who like many other Indonesians goes by a single name.

"Time to make sure you are prepared and keep an eye on official Agung information".

On Sept 22, the authorities raised the alert level to 4 in response to the most intense volcanic activity recorded in 53 years.

He added that flights to Bali were still normal at present, adding that no single flight has been cancelled or re-routed.

Indonesia lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent volcanic and seismic activities.

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