A volcano threatens eruption in Bali

'Do not panic': Bali's Mount Agung begins erupting

The volcano on the Indonesian tourist island has spewed ash and smoke, but authorities say its alert level remains unchanged. "Eruption of Mount Agung does not affect flights activities throughout Bali", Operation Director of Airnav Indonesia Wisnu Darjono said in a statement, referring to Bali global airport.

Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency said the eruption remained small so far but the volcano was emitting a thick grey ash cloud blowing to the east and south-east.

Thousands living in the shadow of a rumbling volcano on Indonesia's resort island of Bali fled Wednesday as fears grow that it could erupt for the first time in more than 50 years.

On Oct 29, the centre lowered the volcano's alert level by one notch after it had previously appeared to be on the brink of eruption.

"You should also be ready to evacuate at short notice", it added.

The volcano last erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,000 people and razing several villages.

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The rise in volcanic activity in the months prior to the eruption prompted around 140,000 people to relocate to safer locations.

Indonesia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, and area of high volcanic and quake activity due to active tectonic plates beneath the earth's surface. An escalation in tremors can indicate magma is rising inside the mountain.

The agency's spokesman has urged residents to remain calm.

The alert level remains at three after it was downgraded from the maximum level of four on October 29.

Tourism, a cornerstone of Bali's economy, is Indonesia's fourth-biggest earner of foreign currency after natural resources like coal and palm oil.

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