A rumbling volcano on the popular resort island of Bali could erupt at any moment, and authorities raised alert levels to the maximum. The Indonesian government has begun a mass evacuation of about 100,000 people and closed the main airport, leaving tourists stranded.
So far 40,000 people have been moved away from the volcano and tens of thousands of travellers have been stranded due to the airport being shut.
Mount Agung has been emitting volcanic ash with increasing intensity since last week but increased seismic activities and indications of the volcano shifting to the magmatic phase resulted in authorities raising the warning level to the maximum of level 4 this morning. Bali's I Gusti Ngurah Rai airport, which is about 60 km from the volcano, will be closed for 24 hours, according to reports. A total of 445 flights - 196 international and 249 domestic - and 59,000 passengers had been affected.
Indonesia’s disaster response agency BPNB, has strongly urged people to evacuate the area, which has been extended to a 10km radius of the volcano. “Not all residents have evacuated yet. There are those (who haven’t evacuated) because their farm animals haven’t been evacuated yet. There are those who feel they are safe,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for BPNB, adding that security personnel were trying to persuade people to leave but they could be evacuated by force.
Social media is abuzz with videos of the volcano spewing smoke and volcanic debris. According to Nugroho, the lava is rising in the crater and he is certain that it will spill over the slopes.
According to reports, Indonesia sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” and is home to more than 120 active volcanoes. Mount Agung rises to heigt of over 3,000 meters in Eastern Bali, a relatively underdeveloped area unlike the tourist hubs of Kuta-Seminyak-Nusa Dua. Mount Agung’s last major eruption occurred in 1963, killing around 1,100 people.Read More