An estimated 1,500 people were killed in lava flows, mudslides and deadly gas clouds when Bali’s Mount Agung last erupted in 1963.
After a series of eruptions since Saturday forced locals to flee for their lives, it is hoped a disaster of the same catastrophic scale will be avoided.
Officials have order people within 10km to evacuate amid fears a ‘strong, explosive eruption’ would once again send lava surging from the mountain.
When it exploded in 1963, the huge volcano spewed ash 10km into the air and lava flowed 7km from the summit.
The devastation caused to villages near the volcano by its 1963 eruption. Many were completely destroyed, with this one lucky to have any houses standing
It is hoped a disaster of the scale of 1963 will be avoided. Pictured, Mount Agung volcano erupts on Monday
Balinese stay the night at an evacuation centre after Mt. Agung volcano erupted on Saturday
Pyroclastic flows – a fast moving mix of gas and volcanic material – spread 13km from the crater.
Villages were incinerated when the super-heated gas cloud engulfed them. Many more were killed buried under mud or burned by lava.
‘Back then we weren’t evacuated until it got really dangerous,’ said an 82-year-old survivor of the 1963 tragedy.
‘Life went on as normal when ash and gravel was falling on us, until the big lava came out and destroyed everything.’
Mount Agung volcano erupts as seen from Culik Village, Karangasem, Bali on Sunday
A lava flow engulfs rice fields in Bali after the 1963 eruption of Mount Agung. An estimated 1,500 people died
Magma has now reached the surface of the volcano, which threatens to produce a ‘strong, explosive eruption,’ authorities warned. Mount Agung is pictured on Sunday
Gusti Nyoman Dauh, now 72, was another to live through the horror.
‘It was around 11.30am, we immediately ran, we had nothing with us except the clothes we were wearing,’ Dauh recalled.
‘I was afraid and panicked. Our house was flattened by the eruption. It was scary.’
When the volcano again began to rumble weeks ago, Dauh immediately gathered his family and fled.
Another 1963 survivor, Nengah Bunter, 70, said: ‘At night everything was shaking… I evacuated on foot through dusty roads.
‘Mount Agung had been erupting for three months when the government evacuated us. The lava and rocks had already been flowing near my house.’
Gusti Nyoman Dauh sits in the shade with his family at a shelter after evacuated a month ago when the volcano began to rumble. He survived the 1963 eruption
In 1963, Lava flowed 7km from the summit, missing the island’s biggest and most important temple (locals pictured cleaning away the ash nearby after the eruption) by metres
A volcanic mudslide like this one killed hundreds more in the days after the 1963 eruption
Nyoman Lanus Kecil, 75, added: ‘It started raining ash so I ran away. I heard there was a ship leaving for another island, but when I arrived there was nothing.’
On Monday, authorities raised the volcano alert to the highest level and ordered evacuations amid fears of another major eruption.
Volcanic ash and steam is flowing more than 6,000 metres into the skies above the holiday island.
Indonesia’s Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation has raised its aviation colour code from orange to red.
The warning indicates a further eruption with significant emission of volcanic ash into the atmosphere was imminent.
People sit together in an emergency shelter (pictured) in Klungkung, Bali, Indonesia
Pictured Sunday, a bright red sky is seen seven kilometers from the erupted Mount Agung
Indonesia is home to around 130 volcanoes due to its position on the ‘Ring of Fire’, a belt of tectonic plate boundaries circling the Pacific Ocean where frequent seismic activity occurs.
In 2010 Mount Merapi, considered one of the most active and dangerous volcanoes in the world, erupted and killed more than 300 people and forced 280,000 people to flee.
Mount Sinabung on Sumatra island, which is currently at its highest alert level, has been active since 2013.
Survivors of the 1963 Mount Agung eruption take a shelter as the volcano threatens to erupt again
People wait in emergency accommodation (pictured) after being evacuated from their homes