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30 September 2017, 03:52 | Cassandra Thompson
Don't be fooled, experts say eruption at Bali volcano Mount Agung is 'more likely than not'
They are staying in almost 500 makeshift shelters in nine districts and some have crossed the Lombok Strait to take refuge in the neighbouring island of Lombok.
The BNPB had said on September 21 that the current tremors were similar to those that occurred before Mount Agung erupted in 1963, which lasted nearly a year and killed over 1,100 people. Nugroho said that the government is distributing hundreds of thousands of face masks and thousands of mattresses and blankets.
Five mobile sirens have been installed in the danger zone to warn residents in the event of an eruption. New cracks and warm areas in the crater have been detected on satellite imagery and the level of degassing has also increased, now often creating a plume of 50-200 m above the volcano.
Villager Wayan Merta, who lived just 6 kilometers (4 miles) from the crater, said he sold his family's cattle "because we thought it was better than leaving them there for nothing".
The animals are extremely valuable to the evacuees - mostly farmers - some of whom have refused to leave the danger zone, the spokesman said.
The island of Ambae in Vanuatu and an area of Bali in Indonesia have been evacuated in preparation for two active volcanoes that are expected to erupt at any moment.
"It can also mean the volcano is rebuilding the pressure", he said, citing last week's seismicity data, which showed a decrease in energy followed by a sharp increase.
The Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said Mount Agung was highly active on Thursday, recording 125 volcanic earthquakes between 12am (1700 GMT) and 6am.
Ambae island's 11,000 residents have been evacuated by boat and helicopter.
The volcano last erupted in 1964.
The airport in Bali's capital Denpasar, through which millions of foreign tourists pass every year, has not been affected, but several countries including Australia and Singapore have issued a travel advisory. More than 130,000 people have fled the area around Mount Agung, fearing a major eruption.
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