The Indonesian islands of Bali and Vanuatu, which were bustling with tourists and adventure lovers just a few days ago, has been evacuated as two volcanoes in the region have been rumbling and threatening to erupt. The highest level of alert has been sounded in the region and hundreds of residents have moved to safer regions.
Now, volcanologists have said that it could only be a matter of hours or days for the volcano at the Mount Agung to erupt as irregular lava movement has been noticed inside the mountain. Mount Agung had not witnessed any seismic activity in the last few years, but last week, over 700 incidents were recorded in just one day and the strongest tremor was measured at 4.3 on the Richter scale.
"More than 700 earthquakes per day is already very high. If the number is increasing, it will create continued tremors. Then it may be a matter of hours before the eruption," Channel News Asia quoted Dr Devy Kamil Syahbana from the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation as saying.
Not just the tremors seismologists have also said that Mt Agung has inflated in the last few weeks and cracks on it have been emitting white smoke that is gradually increasing.
While precautionary measures have already been taken in the region with numerous people moved to temporary shelters, residents were told they couldn't take their pets and livestock along. However, volunteers have now come as a saviour to these animals and are rescuing them from these high-risk regions.
The animals include pet dogs and cats, strays, monkeys, chickens, cows and goats. To save them from the eruptions, numerous non-profit organisations have joined hands and are providing care to these animals.
For two weeks our team has been going into the red zone to provide food, water and veterinary care to abandoned animals," Bali Dog Adoption Rehabilitation Centre founder Linda Buller told news.com.au.
"We have also been constructing temporary safe houses for as many animals as we can, and vaccinating and photographing animals to increase the chances of reuniting pets with their owners."
Buller explained the state of these animals and said that some of them were chained or in cages and had no way to escape. But the organization too does not have enough space to take in all the animals
"The best we can do is provide food and water, board up windows and put coolers inside shelters, in the hope that the animals can escape the lava and gases on their own.
"The hardest part is having to leave animals behind after feeding them, not knowing if we will see them again," she noted.
Meanwhile, residents of Ambae too have moved as the "increasingly active" could spew lava soon, reported CNN.
These regions are usually tourist hotspots this time of the year but all activities have now quietened. "I'm not happy," ABC quoted 13-year-old Ni Made Febriana as saying. "It's not fun, there are no tourists ... they are afraid of earthquakes, and they have evacuated to some places with their friends."
"If my house is destroyed I don't know how to restart my life," Gusti Gege Astana added. "I don't know where my kids will sleep and all I can do now is pray."
While everyone is aware that Bali and Vanuatu lie in the seismic zone, a priest in Indonesia has been blaming tourists for the impending volcano eruption. The local priest believes that the Mount Agung volcano has become active due to tourist having sex on the mountain. The spot is popular with them as it makes for a good hiking destination.
According to the priest, Mount Agung is angry about people having sex and menstruating on it. "The climbers did that," Fairfax media quoted him as saying.