Bali's Mt Agung volcano erupting but alert level remains unchanged

Mount Agung

A volcano erupted on the island of Bali in Indonesia.

But the alert level has not been addressed to the extent that "it is not a rash", said the Centre for volcanology and management of geological hazards.

However, "people in a radius of six kilometers from the mountain should evacuate the premises", especially in the district of Karangasem, the nearest to the volcano, said the volcanologist Gede Suantika.

A spokesman for Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation agency, said via a text message that there had been a "phreatic eruption" late on Tuesday with black smoke reaching 700 meters (2,300 ft), followed by falling ash, gravel and sand.

"People are encouraged to remain calm".

Two months ago, authorities put Agung's alert status at its highest level, which forced more than 130,000 people to leave their homes. Since then the mount has been rumbling intermittently.

Singaporeans should defer non-essential travel to areas of Bali affected by the eruption of Mount Agung, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Wednesday (Nov 22).

Almost 1,600 people died when Agung erupted in 1963, but according to officials, the current activity is not an immediate threat to those who live at his foot.

The number of evacuees dropped to about 30,000 after the alert level was lowered.

"Time to make sure you are prepared and keep an eye on official Agung information".

The plume of ash has yet to affect air traffic, as Bali's worldwide airport remained open and flights were operating as scheduled.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity. Many of them show high levels of activity but it can be months before an eruption.

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