Over 57000 flee home as volcano may erupt in Bali

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Indonesia has raised the alert level to the highest for the Gunung Agung volcano.

At 11am BST EMSC, an independent scientific organisation that provides real-time natural disaster warnings, tweeted: "Strongest quake so far while the volcano may be about to erupt". The volcanology agency is also drawing data from Global Positioning System and satellite imagery, and everything seems to indicate the same thing: while it can't be said for sure that the volcano will erupt, there is every reason to believe that the volcano will probably erupt.

Just yesterday, we reported that Bali's Mount Agung is on the verge of eruption. The centre said on Sunday night that the mountain's "seismic energy is increasing and has the potential to erupt".

"We need to pay attention because these kinds of earthquakes indicate the movement of magma and increase the probability of an eruption".

Indonesia has almost 130 active volcanoes along the Pacific Ring of Fire - more than any other country in the world.

A spokesperson for Indonesia's national disaster agency told reporters hundreds of shallow volcanic earthquakes were recorded on Mount Agung in recent days.

"There will definitely be an impact on (sales of) tour packages but we don't know the figures yet", said Agustinus Pake Seko of PT Bayu Buana travel agency.

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A man shelters in a rescue centre amid fears of an eruptionHow many people have been evacuated? However, embassies have warned of possible flight cancellations in the event of an eruption.

Some villagers are reluctant to leave their crops and livestock.

"While the government will continue to try to minimize the economic losses of the community, the most important priority is the safety of the people here", Widodo told reporters.

The 10,000ft-high volcano - which last blew more than 50 years - was spotted spewing out magma as plumes of smoke rise from the crater.

It is the highest point on the island, dominating the surrounding area and affecting local weather, particularly rain patterns. Aside from the evacuations, however, it's business as usual on Bali.

More than 75,000 people have now been evacuated from an exclusion zone around the volcano, which is around 70 kilometers (43 miles) north of Bali's main tourist areas of Kuta and Seminyak.

"It is not easy to handle a volcanic eruption because there is no certainty when it's going to happen, or if it's going to happen at all", he said.

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