Bali volcano in pictures: more than 50000 evacuated from Mount Agung area

Villagers are seen in a temporary evacuation center at Manggis village in Karangasem regency Island of Bali Indonesia

Indonesian authorities raised the alert level for the Mount Agung volcano to the highest level, as almost 50,000 villagers around the mountain evacuated their homes and travel warnings have been issued for the popular tourist destination.

The 3,100m Mount Agung, which last erupted in 1964, has been showing signs of increasing volcanic activity in recent weeks - forcing authorities to raise the alert level to the highest of 4 last Friday.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of the agency, told reporters that 48,540 people were being housed in 301 temporary shelters while attempts are underway to relocate 14,000 others from areas threatened by the volcano.

Indonesia has a four-level volcano alert system. "However, no one can predict exactly when there will be an eruption".

Mount Agung's eruptions in 1963 were among the most powerful and devastating last century in Indonesia, a country with more than 120 active volcanoes.

Bali attracts millions of foreign tourists every year to its palm-fringed beaches and is a particular favourite with visitors from neighbouring Australia.

Agung is in the north of the island about 70 kilometres from the tourist hot spot of Kuta.

They told people to stay at least nine kilometres away from the crater.

"There will only be a relatively small number of United Kingdom holidaymakers on the island at this time of year, although Bali is a major tourist destination for the Australian market", a spokesperson from the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) said. Heavy rainfall over the tropical island further generated cold lahars, which are a horrific slurry mix of pyroclastic material, rock, and water, and killed a further 200 people.

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

Mount Agung stands almost 10,000 feet tall, or about two miles above sea level, on the city's eastern shore. The U.S.is advising against any visits to the volcano, warning that an eruption could disrupt flights.

The volcanic Mount Agung, which the Balinese believe is a replica of the central axis of the universe has forced almost 50,000 people to flee, amid fears of an eruption. "We take turns going back to feed them".

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