Indonesian authorities have carried out a security operation to evacuate more than 96,000 people facing the possible eruption of Mount Agung volcano on the island of Bali.
The information director of the National Disaster Management Agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that "people outside the danger zone have also come to the shelters since people do not know the exact position of the boundary of the prohibited radius. In addition, there are psychological factors because of the danger of eruption."
Officials announced the highest possible alert level Friday due to the increasing volcanic activity, telling people to stay at least nine kilometers away from the crater. Since August, the volcano has given signs of eruption, an action that has been generated for the first time in more than half a century.
The people who were evacuated are being housed in 430 centers in Bali, but authorities estimate that the number of evacuees will increase. Emergency aid was sent to the island with food and masks to be distributed in the centers where residents are located.
Bali attracts millions of foreign visitors every year and an eruption would be a blow to its tourism-dependent economy.
The airport in Bali's capital Denpasar has not been affected thus far, but several countries including Australia and Singapore have issued advisories warning travelers to exercise caution.
In case of an eruption, Indonesia plans to divert flights headed for Bali to ten other airports, including nearby Lombok and the capital Jakarta.
"The planes will be diverted to their nearest location or where they originally took off from," said Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi.