JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Nearly 10,000 villagers have left their homes around the Mount Agung volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali because of a possible eruption, officials said Friday.
Officials raised the alert status of the volcano on Monday to the second highest level following an increase in seismic activity. It recommended that people stay 6 kilometers (3.8 miles) from the crater, and up to 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles) away to the north, southeast and south-southwest.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said that some 9,400 villagers have evacuated from their houses and were scattered across the districts of Karangasem, Klungkung and Buleleng.
They are living in temporary shelters, sports centers, village halls and with relatives, said agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
The 3,031-meter (9,944-feet) Agung last erupted in 1963, killing 1,100 people and hurling ash as high as 10 kilometers (6 miles).
The mountain, about 72 kilometers (45 miles) to the northeast of the tourist hotspot of Kuta, is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.
The country of thousands of islands is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.
More than 7,000 of the evacuees were in the 840 square kilometer (325 square mile) district surrounding the volcano, Karangasem, which is home to about 408,000 people.