Bali volcano: 59,000 travellers stranded as main airport closed

Bali volcano: 59,000 travellers stranded as main airport closed

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More than 100,000 people told to evacuate further than eight kilometres from the volcano. The situation at the airport to be reviewed every six hours

Authorities of the Indonesian resort island of Bali have issued the highest-level warning possible after volcanic eruptions from Mount Agung.

The situation in Bali is severe with the volcanic alert level raised to the maximum, level four.

Mount Agung has been spewing ash with increasing intensity since last Tuesday, and the volcano is now entering the magmatic phase of the eruption.

Airport spokesman Air Ahsanurrohim said about 59,000 travellers have been stranded and 445 flights have been cancelled so far.

Authorities also issued warnings of dangerous mudflows. Sutopo recommended people to stay away from rivers as mudflows can move rapidly and are one of the most frequent killers during volcanic eruptions.

“The pyroclastic material of (the) Mount Agung eruption will continue to grow. The rain will increase during the rainy season. Potential lava floods will increase. Do not do (engage in) activities around the river,” he said on his official Twitter.

The airport is supposed to remain closed until Tuesday morning. However, officials said the situation would be reviewed every six hours.

“While the sun is shining and there is little sign of volcanic ash in the southern regions of Bali, evidence of volcanic ash at higher altitudes on aviation approach and departure paths has prompted the decision to close the airport,” Bali Tourism Board Chairman Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana said in a statement.

40,000 people were evacuated from the volcano’s 8-10 km radius zone, and 60,000 others have been told to do the same.

“We ask people in the danger zone to evacuate immediately because there’s a potential for a bigger eruption,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency.

“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,” Sutopo said, adding that security personnel were trying to persuade people to leave but they could be evacuated by force.

Customers of who may be affected by the eruption are advised to contact Customer Support via chat, email, or by phone. Due to high volumes of incoming contacts, the waiting time might be longer than usual. Thank you for understanding.

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