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Bali volcano erupts: 100,000 people evacuated, 445 flights cancelled

27.11.2017 at 15:49

Travel news

Officials in Indonesia say 100,000 people on the island of Bali need to be evacuated from a danger zone around the Mount Agung volcano, which has begun erupting and sending dark clouds of ash into the air.

International flights at Denpasar Airport were canceled following a volcanic eruption by Mount Agung on Saturday evening and a further three eruptions on Sunday. Fifty-nine thousand passengers on 445 canceled flights — including 196 international flights — have been affected, the airport said in a statement.  It was scheduled to reopen Tuesday, but that decision could be postponed based on conditions, officials said.

Volcanic activity is now at a very high level, and the probability of a bigger eruption is increasing, Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said. Just how big can’t be determined, in part because there is so little information about what sort of activity came before the last deadly eruption in 1963.

Bali volcano eruption

The agency warned of potential hazards including pyroclastic flows — a mix of hot gases, lava fragments and ash — that the volcano could project up to six miles in a few minutes. And heavy ash could fall, blanketing areas up to five feet deep even miles from Mount Agung.

About 25,000 people left their homes after the erupting volcano spewed plumes of ash and steam last week. Mr. Sutopo said Monday at a news conference that the expanding danger zone meant 100,000 would need to evacuate.

Ash from the volcano has reached heights of more than 11,000 feet above the peak, and sounds of rumbling could be heard more than seven miles away, Mr. Sutopo said Monday.

The volcano is in the northeast of the island, about 35 miles from the tourist center of Kuta in the south.

The eruption of Mount Agung in 1963 killed about 1,700 people.

Sources: BI, NY Times

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