Indonesia issues highest alert for Bali volcano: 100,000 told to leave

Updated: Nov 28, 2017, 10:39 IST | Agencies

Indonesia issues highest alert for Bali volcano, says 1st major eruption in 54 yrs could be 'imminent'

Indonesia closed the airport on the tourist island of Bali yesterday and ordered a lakh residents living near a glowing volcano spewing columns of ash to evacuate immediately, warning that the first major eruption in 54 years could be "imminent". The airport was closed for 24 hours from last morning, disrupting 445 flights and some 59,000 passengers, after Mount Agung, which killed hundreds of people in 1963, sent volcanic ash high into the sky, and officials said cancellations could be extended.

Balinese people ride on an open car past Mount Agung erupting seeb, from Kubu sub-district in Karangasem Regency in Bali. pics/afp
Balinese people ride on an open car past Mount Agung erupting seeb, from Kubu sub-district in Karangasem Regency in Bali. Pics/AFP

"Plumes of smoke are occasionally accompanied by explosive eruptions and the sound of weak blasts that can be heard up to 12 km from the peak," the Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said in a statement, after raising the alert from three to its highest level of four.

Passengers at the Gusti Ngurah Rai International airport in Bali
Passengers at the Gusti Ngurah Rai International airport in Bali

"The potential for a larger eruption is imminent," it said, referring to a visible glow of magma at Mount Agung's peak overnight, and warning residents to evacuate a danger zone at a radius of 8-10 km. Sutopo, a BNPB spokesman, said there had been no casualties so far and 40,000 people had left the area.

59,000 Fliers stranded at the airport

445 Number of flights disrupted

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