Bali's Mount Agung Could Erupt at Any Minute

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An exclusion zone around the mountain extends as far as 12km from the crater in places but officials say people farther from the volcano are leaving too.

People fleeing this week were settled in 400 locations across Bali, including temporary camps, schools and other public buildings.

Do not spread the misleading news that Bali is not safe because Mount Agung is on the highest alert status.

Officials at an evacuation centre in Klungkung district said 122,490 people had left their homes, taking refuge at almost 500 makeshift shelters or moving in with relatives. The increase in tremors suggests an eruption is "imminent", she said.

More than 1000 people were killed the last time Mount Agung erupted, in 1963.

"I was very anxious about the situation" said Nyoman Suarta, who lives in a village just outside the danger zone.

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"Instrumentally, we have never recorded such high energy or seismicity from Mount Agung", said seismologist Devy Kamil Syahbana. "So I made a decision to get out to save myself with my stuff and my pet", he said, carrying a bird in a cage. It remained active for about a year.

An elderly woman who survived that eruption said evacuation instructions had come much earlier this time.

Bali attracts millions of foreign visitors annually to its palm-fringed beaches and an eruption would be a blow to its tourism-dependent economy.

An increasing frequency of tremors from the volcano indicates magma is continuing to move toward the surface and an eruption is possible, said National Disaster Mitigation agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Thousands of people have been evacuated in Vanuatu's northern island Ambae in the South Pacific as well as in the holiday island of Bali, Indonesia. The mountain, which sits about 70 kilometers northeast of Kuta, is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.