More than 120000 people flee Bali volcano

Mount Sinabung seen from Gundaling Hill on Sept. 13 2010

Officials have ordered anyone living with 7.5 miles of the volcano to leave their homes.

The evacuees are scattered in over 500 locations across the island, taking shelter in temporary camps, sports centers and public buildings.

The number of evacuees has risen to more than 134,000 in Bali resort island of Indonesia as a volcano could imminently erupt, a disaster agency official said on Thursday.

With a volcanic eruption nearly certain (the volcano alert was rapidly raised to the maximum level last weekend), Indonesian officials have urged visitors and villagers to flee the 7.5-mile exclusion zone. The increase in tremors suggests an eruption is "imminent", she said.

The last time Bali's Mount Agung volcano erupted, a stream of molten lava flattened teenage Gusti Nyoman Dauh's home, while cascading ash, rocks and hot gas killed 1,600 of his neighbours.

"I was very anxious about the situation" said Nyoman Suarta, who was leaving a village a few kilometers outside the official no-go radius. It remained active for more than a year.

"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. "Sirens will sound and tell the community the mountain has erupted". "So I chose to get out to save myself with my stuff and my pet", he said, carrying a cage housing a bird. "We want to get out of here just to be safe", said an Australian woman at Bali's airport who identified herself as Miriam.

"An eruption of Mount Agung could impact air travel in the region".

Indonesia, which sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, has almost 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

In case of an eruption, Indonesia plans to divert flights headed for Bali to 10 other airports, including on nearby Lombok and the capital Jakarta.

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