Thousands of cows still in Bali volcano zone

Thousands of cows still in Bali volcano zone

Thousands of people have been evacuated on the Indonesian island of Bali and on Ambae island in Vanuatu as two volcanoes threaten to erupt.

It last erupted in 1963, spewing ash, gas, rock and miles of lava, killing more than 1,100 people and destroying numerous homes.

So more than fifty years later, when the Indonesian volcano began rumbling once again, the now-grandfather did not hesitate before gathering his family and fleeing to a crowded, makeshift shelter.

They are scattered in more than 500 locations across the island, taking shelter in temporary camps, sports centers and other public buildings. Sirens will be sounded if an eruption occurs.

The animals are extremely valuable to the evacuees - mostly farmers - some of whom have refused to leave the danger zone, the spokesman said. "So I made a decision to get out to save myself with my stuff and my pet", he said, carrying a cage housing a bird.

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The level of maximum alert in Bali had been decreed on 22 September by the indonesian authorities, who recommend keeping more than nine kilometres from the crater of the volcano, away from the tourist areas. "Please, come and visit Bali", said AA Gede Yuniartha Putra, the island's tourism chief, according to the Australian website news.com.au.

"They are afraid of being hit in case of an eruption, " he said. Since then, tens of thousands of villagers have been urged to abandon their homes beneath the menacing volcano. This is official information from the government, which has, itself, evacuated more than 80,000 residents from the immediate area.

Indonesia, which sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, has almost 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

Another volcano, Mount Sinabung, has been erupting sporadically since 2010, sometimes blasting volcanic ash several kilometres into the air and forcing more than 30,000 to evacuate their villages.

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