A view of Mount Agung, a volcano on the highest alert level, from a a government monitoring station and observatory in Rendang, on the resort island of Bali, Indonesia, September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside
A view of Mount Agung, a volcano on the highest alert level, from a a government monitoring station and observatory in Rendang, on the resort island of Bali, Indonesia, September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Tens of thousands flee rumbling Bali volcano Karangasem, Indonesia, Sept 24, 2017 (AFP) -More than 34,000 people have fled from a rumbling volcano on the resort island of Bali as the magnitude of tremors grows, prompting fears it could erupt for the first time in more than 50 years, an official said Sunday. Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency said the number of people fleeing their homes surrounding the volcano had tripled since Friday amid growing alarm that Mount Agung could erupt at any moment.

"The evacuation process is ongoing and we expect the number of evacuees to continue to rise," the agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told AFP. The volcano, located about 75 kilometres (50 miles) from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August. Officials announced the highest possible alert level on late Friday following the increasing volcanic activities and urged people stay at least nine kilometres away from the crater.

"I am actually very worried to leave, I left my cows and pigs at home because we were ordered to vacate our village immediately," villager Nyoman Asih who evacuated with her entire family told AFP.

The international airport in Bali’s capital, Denpasar, was anticipating possibilities of airport closure but no flight schedules had been affected as of Sunday. The airport has prepared buses and trains to divert passengers to alternative hubs in neighbouring provinces if the mountain erupts.

The Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said tremors happened less frequently on Sunday but were stronger than in previous days. "The mountain has not erupted until now, the earthquake happens less frequently but the magnitude is getting stronger," Gede Suantika, a senior volcanologist at the agency told AFP. More than 1,000 people died when Mount Agung last erupted in 1963.

Rescue workers and Mexican soldiers take part in a rescue operation at a collapsed building in the Obrera neighbourhood in Mexico City, after an earthquake, on September 20 2017. Picture: REUTERS
Rescue workers and Mexican soldiers take part in a rescue operation at a collapsed building in the Obrera neighbourhood in Mexico City, after an earthquake, on September 20 2017. Picture: REUTERS

Meanwhile in Mexico hopes of finding more survivors after Mexico City’s devastating quake dwindled to virtually nothing on Sunday, five days after the 7.1 tremor rocked the heart of the mega-city, toppling dozens of buildings and killing more than 300 people.

Authorities continued to yield to pleas from anguished families who insisted that painstaking rescue operations continue at a handful of sites. Foreign teams from Japan, the US and elsewhere were working with dogs and hi-tech gear to try to detect signs of life under the rubble.

A series of smaller earthquakes in the south of Mexico on Saturday — including a 6.1-magnitude one that triggered seismic alerts in the capital — stoked panic in a population traumatized by Tuesday’s disaster.

Authorities said two people died in the southern state of Oaxaca, where tectonic upheaval was centered. A bridge buckled and collapsed, as did several other previously damaged structures.

In Mexico City, two women, one aged in her 80s, the other 52, died of heart attacks as they tried to evacuate their homes.

The tremors — possibly aftershocks from a massive 8.2-magnitude quake that hit southern Mexico two weeks ago — forced rescue workers in the capital to pause their efforts for a couple of hours.

AFP

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