If you were about to rush over to Bali for a bit of pre-Christmas island hopping, forget it. The airport in Denpasar is closed, people are being evacuated as a precaution and many travellers, already on the island, are stranded.
Authorities on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali have raised the volcano alert to the highest level as Mount Agung continues to churn and belch menacing-looking ash and smoke.
Officials have extended the danger zone around the rumbling volcano. As many as 100,000 people need to evacuate.
The high level alert also forced officials to close the resort island’s airport early Monday, canceling 445 flights and disrupting travel for 59,000 people. Frustrated passengers say they had no prior warning.
Reuters is reporting that some stranded travellers in Bali are making the best of the situation and have gone to Mount Agung’s observatory post to witness the eruption.
Mount Agung began rumbling and sending ash clouds into the sky on Tuesday.
Indonesia lies on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where tectonic plates crash, which causes frequent volcanic and seismic activity.
Mount Agung last erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,000 people.
Mount Sinabung on Sumatra Island, active since 2013, is also at its highest alert level.
The famous Krakatoa eruption in 1883 was one of the most destructive volcanic events in recorded history. At least 36,417 deaths are attributed to the eruption and the tsunamis it created. Significant additional effects were also felt around the world in the days and weeks after the volcano’s destruction. What is left of Krakatoa volcano is about 1,000 kilometres west at the other end of Java island.
- Tanutam Thawan