'Matter of hours' before Bali volcano erupts, says Indonesian government

Mount Agung fears of an eruptionMore

Clouds shrouded the top of Bali's highest volcano on Tuesday as the risk of an imminent eruption began to persuade some tourists to have second thoughts about visiting Indonesia's paradise island.

Jetstar and Singapore-based budget carrier Scoot said they had been contacted by a small number of customers looking to change their travel dates.

"Even with all the signs and calculation we have today no one can tell when is the eruption will occur", said Surono, an expert of volcanology and former head of Indonesia Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center.

Evacuees have packed into temporary shelters or moved in with relatives.

Passengers spooked by news of the active volcano also took to Twitter to ask airlines about cancellation options, and several mentioned cancelling their plans altogether. "We want to get out of here just to be safe", said an Australian woman at Bali's airport who identified herself as Miriam.

Balinese residents, global NGOs and the central government have begun organising aid.

A farmer works in her field as mount Agung is seen in the background on September 26, 2017 in Karangasem regency, Island of Bali, Indonesia.

In case of a big eruption, the danger zone could be expanded.

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President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is scheduled to deliver humanitarian aid to Mount Agung evacuees during his visit to Bali on Tuesday.

"But for Agung we have no instrumental documentation", said Syahbana.

It is the highest point on the island, dominating the surrounding area and affecting local weather, particularly rain patterns.

Almost five million people visited Bali in 2016. People have been told to stay at least 9 kilometers (6 miles) from the crater, but to stay 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) away when to the north, northeast, southeast and south-southwest.

The UK, Australia and the U.S. are among several countries that have issued travel advisories in recent days, warning that volcanic activity on Agung could interfere with travel plans.

Mount Agung, about 75 kilometres (47 miles) from the Indonesian tourist hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August, threatening to erupt for the first time since 1963.

The last time Mount Agung erupted was in 1963, when more than 1,000 people were killed.

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