Indonesia downgrades alert status of Mount Agung volcano in Bali

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Indonesia’s national volcanology agency has lowered alert status of Mount Agung volcano in Bali resort island from top level to the second highest, allowing tens thousands of evacuees to go back home.

Head of National Volcanology Agency named only Kasbani told Xinhua by phone that the downgrade was undertaken at 09:00 a.m. Jakarta time on Saturday as its volcanic activities has been weakening.

“The alert status was lowered this morning and evacuees can return home, and the national disaster management agency would manage the return,” Kasbani stressed.
The official revealed that the agency has also narrowed no-go zone area to 4 kilometers from the craters.

“As the volcanic activities have declined the dangerous area was lowered. And all the activities is strongly prohibited to be done inside the from the crater,” said Kasbani.

Mount Agung volcano had erupted since September of last year, forcing people living in the slope of the volcano to flee homes and take shelters in safer grounds. The number of displaced persons had peaked to about 144,000, according to the national disaster management agency.

The eruption had disturbed flight and decreased the number of foreign holiday maker arrivals in the center of Indonesian tourism industry.

But the industry has gradually recovered since the volcanologists narrowed evacuation zone with termination of eruption, allowing some of evacuees to come back home with tens thousands others remaining in evacuation centers.
Over 400,000 foreign visitors visitors come into Bali island every months, the national statistics bureau said.

A total of 1,100 people were killed in the last eruption of the volcano in 1963.
Mount Agung is one of the 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, a vast archipelagic country with 17,500 islands.

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