The Indonesian tourist haven of Bali has been declared a state of natural disaster, as authorities prepare for the imminent eruption of Mount Agung.
All outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping, have been suspended around the crater in East Bali and an exclusion zone has been set up 9-12 kilometres from the 3000-metre-high volcano, which last erupted in 1963.
More than 35,000 people have been evacuated and a travel warning has been issued, with any eruption set to disrupt flights to and from the island.
Australia’s Smart Traveller warns to exercise a high degree of caution.
But Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said it was still safe for tourists to visit Bali in areas outside the exclusion zone.
Hundreds of tremors have been recorded in recent days, pointing towards an eruption.
The Jakarta Post reports that farmers on the slopes around the mountain have been reluctant to leave their livestock behind, leading authorities to set up cattle shelters. The paper says some people have attempted to exploit the situation by offering to buy the cattle at discounted prices.
Masyarakat secara gotong royong mengevakuasi ternaknya di Banjar Lebah, Klungkung dari radius berbahaya. Ternak harus segera dievakuasi. pic.twitter.com/JwboLrhXkZ
— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB) September 24, 2017
The government has set up 238 evacuation points for villagers and 14 tonnes of aid has been flown in, including tents, blankets, mattresses and communications devices.
Indonesia’s coordinating minister, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, people should be prepared for the worst of Mount Agung.
“The people around Gunung Agung must continue to be patient,” he said.
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