Sept. 25 (UPI) — Thousands more have evacuated the Pacific island of Bali after seismic activity from Mount Agung increased on Monday, officials said.
The island has cleared people from within nearly 8 miles of the volcano, with the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation noting that heightened activity sent tremors through nearby areas and pushed smoke out of the mountain’s crater.
“The latest analysis indicates that Mount Agung’s seismic energy is increasing and has the potential to erupt,” a spokesperson from the National Volcanology Center said.
The National Disaster Management Agency said Monday about 62,000 people lived inside the “danger zone” and that they all should evacuate. So far, about 50,000 have moved to shelters.
Officials have urged residents to remain calm amidst false reports of the eruption. Bali’s airport and other tourist destinations continued to operate normally through Sunday. However, thousands of evacuated residents are now waiting out a potential eruption in schools and town halls, with the number of evacuees unpredictable to authorities.
“If the number of evacuees exceeds our maximum capacity,” Putu Widiada, head of the local disaster management agency in Klungkung district said, “we have asked that every public hall in the district be prepared to become evacuation camps.”
If Mount Agung erupts, it will be its first since 1963, when 1,100 people were killed.