Outdoor World

Mount Agung: Bali airport closed as volcano alert raised to highest level

People within 10 km told to evacuate as explosive eruptions send ash 4,000 metres into atmosphere

Indonesian authorities have raised the alarm for a Bali volcano to the highest level, closed the island’s airport and ordered people within 10 km( six miles) to evacuate.

Mount Agung erupted on Saturday evening and three times early Sunday, illuminating its cone with an orange incandescence and sending ash 4,000 metres into the atmosphere.

The national committee for disaster management said Bali’s international airport had closed for 24 hours and authorities would consider reopening it on Tuesday after evaluating the situation.

About 25,000 people living near the mountain have already left their homes and evacuated since Mount Agung first started to spew smoke on Tuesday.

” Continuous ash whiffs are sometimes accompanied by explosive eruptions accompanied by a weak music of boom ,” the national board for disaster management wrote on Facebook.” The lights of flame are increasingly observed at night. This indicates the potential for a larger eruption is imminent .”

Balinese
Balinese Hindus take part in a ceremony, where they pray near Mount Agung in hope of preventing a volcanic eruption. Photo: Sonny Tumbelaka/ AFP/ Getty Images

The national calamity bureau spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, called for people to stay calm.

” Bali’s airfield has indeed been closed. We’re still coordinating the next steps ,” airport spokesman Arie Ahsanurrohim said.

The Geological agency head, Kasbani, who goes by one epithet, said the alert level was raised at 6am on Monday because the volcano had shifted from steam-based eruptions to magmatic eruptions. However he said he was still not expecting a major eruption.

” We don’t expect a big eruption but we have to stay alert and anticipate ,” he said.

Adam Harvey (@ adharves)

#Bali now. Not what the hell are you want to see when you arrive at the airport. pic.twitter.com/ dIZCbzoN2E

November 27, 2017

Indonesia’s Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation raised its aviation colouring code from orange to red, indicating a further eruption with significant emission of volcanic ash into the atmosphere was imminent.

Australian airline Jetstar cancelled all flights in and out of Bali due to the ash cloud all over the Mount Agung volcano. The decision on Monday was attained on security grounds and overruled earlier expectations that flights would go ahead.

” While these interruptions are frustrating, the authorities concerned will ever threw security before schedule ,” the carrier said in a statement. Virgin Australia was expected to follow suit.

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Jetstar said it would update passengers around 7pm AEDT based on advice from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.

Michael Bachelard (@ mbachelard)

Huge ash cloud over Mt Agung in Bali is stopping flights just as schoolies gets underway pic.twitter.com/ UqE5dBUZfN

November 25, 2017

An exclusion zone extending 7.5 km from the crater remains in place following the evacuation of more than 185,000 people after an eruption in September, and authorities have warned anyone remaining within it to leave the area. About 25,000 to 30,000 people were reportedly still unable to return home.

The September eruption was the first sign of activity by Mount Agung in more than 50 times and prompted the highest alert degree. In 1963 a major eruption killed about 1,100 people.

Quick Guide

Mount Agung eruption

Where is the volcano ?

Mount Agung rises about 3,000 m above Bali’s Karangasem district, in the island’s east. Bali lies within the so-called Pacific ring of flame, a zone of high seismic and volcanic activity where thousands of tremors arise each year.

Has it erupted before ?

Mount Agung’s last major eruption in 1963 killed about 1,100 people and bulldozed many villages. More than 50,000 Indonesians were evacuated in September this year when experts warned an eruption was imminent. About 25,000 people have been unable to return to their homes since then.

What is happening this time ?

21 November- a minor eruption sent a plume of ash and steam rising about 700 m. Volcanologists said it was caused by magma heating sea( phreatic eruption ). No alert was issued.

25 November- three minor eruptions mailed a plume rising 4,000 m and coated nearby villages in a layer of ash. An exclusion zone of seven. 5km was put in place and some flights were diverted or cancelled.

26 November- Indonesia’s Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation updated to code red, predicting a further eruption with significant volcanic ash. Some flights were cancelled. Experts said the eruption was being driven by magma rather than steam.

27 November- Indonesian authorities elevated the alarm to the highest level and ordered people within 10 km to leave as experts warned of an imminent risk of a greater eruption. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said the ash plume had risen to 9,144 m. Denpasar airport was closed for 24 hours.

How long will it last ?

Australia’s BOM expects eruptions and ash to continue for at the least 24 hours. Indonesian government volcanologist Gede Suantika calculates Agung could spew ash for at least a month.

Photograph: Built Nagi/ EPA

The volcano is Bali’s highest peak and a popular hiking destination for sightseers, who have been cautioned to stay away for now. Several villages that rely on the tourism trade are within the exclusion zone and fear for the economic impact on their livelihoods.

  • Agence-France Presse and Australian Associated Press contributed to this report

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ world/ 2017/ nov/ 27/ mount-agung-bali-airport-closed-as-volcano-alert-raised-to-highest-level

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