Indonesian authorities on Monday raised the alert level of an erupting volcano in Bali to the highest level, ordering up to 100,000 people within 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of the crater to evacuate. Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency said the alert was raised “in anticipation of the possibility and imminent risk of disaster.”
Mount Agung, an active volcano on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali, erupted on Sunday, sending ash 3,000 meters (9,840 feet) above the crater, according to disaster management officials. “Constant tremors can be felt,” said volcanologist Gede Suantika.
The alert was raised after the volcano shifted from steam-based eruptions to magmatic eruptions, said Kasbani, who heads Indonesia’s geological agency.
“We don’t expect a big eruption but we have to stay alert and anticipate,” said Kasbani, who goes by one name.
Air traffic affected
Officials said Bali’s international Ngurah Rai airport will be closed for 24 hours due to ash cloud.
A small international airport on the nearby island of Lombok, a tourist destination east of Bali, was closed on Sunday evening as wind blew ash in the direction of the island.
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Air traffic tracking site FlightRadar24 posted an image of flights being redirected after authorities issued the altert.
Flight cancellations throughout the weekend and Monday left tens of thousands of tourists stranded.
Australian airline Jetstar, which canceled nine flights to and from Bali on Saturday evening, said that most of its flights would operate normally on Sunday. They warned, however, that cancellations could occur at short notice depending on where the wind blows the ash cloud.
AirAsia canceled over 30 flights on Sunday, and Virgin, KLM and Air Asia Malaysia canceled several flights on Saturday.
In September, authorities raised the volcano alert to the highest level, prompting more than 130,000 people to flee the area amid fears of an imminent eruption.
The volcano’s last major eruption happened in 1963 and left more 1,100 people dead. Indonesia straddles the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire” and is home to more than 120 active volcanoes.
ls,rs/aw (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)