Bali Volcano Leaves Thousands Stranded
There is risk of a larger eruption of a volcano around Bali’s Mount Agung in Indonesia and that has left thousands stranded.
It has forced the government to raise its warning to the top level four alert on Monday.
Authorities also closed the holiday island’s airport and told residents around the mountain to immediately evacuate, warning of an “imminent” risk of a larger eruption.
Reuters reports that Bali’s airport was closed for 24 hours from Monday, disrupting 445 flights and about 59,000 passengers, local officials said the closure could be extended.
Video footage shared by the disaster agency showed cold lava flows (lahar) at a number of locations on the mountainside.
Lahar carrying mud and large boulders can destroy houses, bridges and roads in its path.
“Plumes of smoke are occasionally accompanied by explosive eruptions and the sound of weak blasts that can be heard up to 12 km (7 miles) from the peak,” the Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said in a statement after raising the alert level from three to four.
“The potential for a larger eruption is imminent,” it said, referring to the visible glow of magma at Agung’s peak overnight.
Residents were warned to “immediately evacuate” a danger zone that circles Agung in a radius of 8-10 km (5-6 miles).
A BNPB spokesman, Sutopo, said there had been no casualties so far and 40,000 people had left the area, but tens of thousands still needed to move and warned authorities would move them by force if necessary.
Agung rises majestically over eastern Bali to a height of just over 3,000 metres (9,800 feet).
Eastern Bali is relatively undeveloped, with traditional rice paddies doting the landscape and the occasional budget resort, unlike the heavily populated southern tourist hub of Kuta-Seminyak-Nusa Dua.
at Agung’s peak, meaning a greater risk of a larger eruption.