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Indonesia's Bali Raises Volcano Alert to Highest Level

  • VOA News

Mount Agung volcano spews smoke and ash in Bali, Indonesia, Nov. 26, 2017.

Authorities on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali have raised the volcano alert to the highest level as Mount Agung continues to churn and belch menacing-looking ash and smoke.

Officials have ordered all people within 10 kilometers of the mountain to evacuate.

But while the activity on Mount Agung looks frightening, the head of Indonesia's geological agency, Kasbani (one name) says he does not expect a major eruption.

He says the alert was raised because the volcano began pouring out magma instead of steam and that officials must be "alert and anticipate."

Flights have been diverted away from the Bali airport and the airport on the neighboring Lombok island was closed. People looking to leave Bali were stranded because of flight cancellations.

A woman uses an umbrella as she walks through ash from Mount Agung volcano during an eruption in Bebandem Village, Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, Nov. 26, 2017.
A woman uses an umbrella as she walks through ash from Mount Agung volcano during an eruption in Bebandem Village, Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, Nov. 26, 2017.

​Bali is Indonesia's top tourist destination, with its Hindu culture, surf beaches and lush green interior attracting about 5 million visitors a year.

Mount Agung began rumbling and sending ash clouds into the sky on Tuesday.

Indonesia lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where tectonic plates crash, which causes frequent volcanic and seismic activity.

Mount Agung last erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,000 people.

Mount Sinabung on Sumatra island, active since 2013, is also at its highest alert level.

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