Evacuations are underway as a volcano on Indonesia’s Bali island grows closer to erupting, putting about 100,000 people in danger, CNN reports.
Volcanic activity began Sunday with clouds of ash spewing from the top of Bali’s Mount Agung volcano to nearly 5.7 miles into the sky, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.
“Mount Agung eruption keeps going … The possibility that the bigger eruption might happen (is getting) closer. However there is no clear information on how big the intensity (would be). It is nearly impossible to estimate,” Indonesia’s National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) said, according to CNN.
BNPB said “rays of fire” could be seen streaming from Agung’s peak Monday night.
Evacuations are going slowly as Bali residents are reluctant to leave their homes. Many are staying back to protect gardens and care for livestock, and some have no other place to go.
Mount Agung and the surrounding area has been shaking since August. The danger zone around the base of Agung was evacuated in September after the quakes’ intensity and frequency increased, The Guardian reports.
Bali’s volcano last erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,000 people.
A prominent Bali temple is located near the slopes of Agung, and the top of the mountain holds important spiritual significance as the island’s tallest point. Religious leaders among the mostly Hindu Balinese have suggested the volcanic activity is due to the mountain’s anger against tourists.
“For example, they have been disobeying the ban for women who have their period to climb Mount Agung,” Sumerti Jero told The Guardian.
Bali’s airport has shut down for a second day due to massive clouds of ash drifting over the island, leaving about 59,000 travelers stranded, BBC reports.
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