Mt Agung's pending eruption sends more than 75000 Balinese packing

Mt Agung's pending eruption sends more than 75000 Balinese packing

An increasing frequency of tremors from the volcano indicates magma is continuing to move towards the surface and an eruption is possible, a disaster agency official said yesterday.

The worldwide airport of Denpasar, Bali's capital city, which welcomes every year millions of tourists, is not affected for the time being.

Monday, there were 844 volcanic earthquakes, with over 300 being already recorded today.

Dr Ubide said the recent increased seismic activity in the Ring of Fire - including earthquakes off the coast of Fiji and a volcanic eruption in Vanuatu - is being caused by the same geological process but aren't linked.

Operators said most Thai tourists will visit lakes and cultural sites on the western side of the island, a safe distance from the volcano.

Officials have warned that an eruption of Mount Agung on the tourist island of Bali is imminent with the active volcano in a "critical" phase.

Mount Agung is found in Bali's northeast, with a wide evacuation zone concerning some visitors. (AAP) Villages nearly completely reduced to ash after 1963 eruption of Agung volcano in 1963.

In a statement on its website it said an increase in the frequency of the tremors indicated magma was moving towards the surface, and that the "number of natural disaster events is greater than ever". "Numerous residents outside the radius who are not sure have opted to also leave", said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of Indonesia's national disaster management agency (BNPB). "As long as the planes are still able to fly, I think tourism will be all right", said Ketut Ardana, chairman of the Bali office of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies. "While the government will continue to try to minimise the economic losses of the community, the most important priority is the safety of the people here", he said.

Evacuees are being housed in makeshift shelters like town halls and school gyms.

The volcano's last eruption in 1963 killed more than 1000 people.

The airport in Bali's capital Denpasar has not been affected, but several countries including Australia and Singapore have issued advisories warning travellers to exercise caution.

If the volcano erupts before Wednesday and a similar ash cloud is produced, the expected winds would direct it initially southwestward away from the volcano over Bali and then to the south into the Indian Ocean.

An update on Virgin Australia's website says the airline is closely monitoring the situation and as of this morning, flights were still planned to operate as scheduled.

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