Indonesian airports remain shut as Agung spews fire

Indonesian airports remain shut as Agung spews fire

The Agung volcano with a deadly history on the popular resort islands of Indonesia’s Bali, has spewed ash 7,600 metre high and closed its international airport for a third day on Wednesday.

The Ngurah Rai International Airport continued to remain closed with more than 100,000 passengers left stranded so far, Efe news reported.

Experts believe the volcano may see a greater eruption, official sources said on Wednesday.

The General Manager of Bali airport operator Angkasa Pura, Yunus Suprayogi, said in a statement that due to the volcanic ash, the airport would halt operations until at least Thursday morning.

On the first two days of the Bali airport closure almost 900 flights were cancelled, with 445 on November 27 and 443 on November 28, in addition to 31 others at the airport on the island of Lombok, east of Bali.

Angkasa Pura said in another announcement that at least 1,297 tourists have already travelled from Bali airport or from the Mengwi bus terminal to Surabaya, on Java Island, first in vehicles and then on ferries.

At the Surabaya airport, tickets for flights to Jakarta have been sold out until December and hundreds of travellers are looking for alternative routes to return home, according to several tourists.

The Director of Information for the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said on Twitter that Agung continues to spew ash and lava.

At least 22 villages near the volcano have been affected by the falling ash, which, at the moment, moves south-southwest.

The Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation raised the eruption alert to the highest level on Monday, increased the safety radius to 10 km around Mount Agung and warned of the risk of a major eruption.

The authorities have ordered the evacuation of nearly 100,000 people living in the danger zone and recommended the use of protective masks for the population.

Almost 40,000 people have already registered in emergency shelters at various points on the island, although some residents refuse to leave their homes.

Located in the east of the island, in the district of Karangasem, Mount Agung is far from most tourist attractions.

This is Mount Agung’s first volcanic eruption since 1963, when the ejection of magma lasted almost a year and caused more than 1,100 deaths.

Bali is the main tourist destination in Indonesia, with an annual influx of around 5.4 million foreign tourists, according to official data.

The Indonesian archipelago sits within the so-called “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity that is shaken by thousands of tremors every year, most of small magnitude.

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