Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bali volcano eruption strands thousands of travellers



Bali volcano eruption strands thousands of travellers

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A general view shows Mount Agung erupting seen at night from Kubu sub-district in Karangasem Regency on Indonesia's resort island of Bali yesterday. Indonesian authorities extended the closure of the international airport on the resort island of Bali for a second day over fears of a volcanic eruption. Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP

Bali volcano eruption strands thousands of travellers

Thousands of travellers were left stranded Tuesday on the resort island of Bali as the eruption of the Mount Agung volcano forced the closing of the island’s international airport for another day.

Continuing tremors radiated from the volcano, an indication of potentially increasing danger, Indonesian officials and volcano experts said.

“Magma has been at the surface for a few days now,” Janine Krippner, a Pittsburgh-based volcanologist, said by email. “The risk now is the possibility of a larger eruption.”

Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali’s capital, was scheduled to remain closed until Wednesday morning. But the continuing eruption could further delay the opening of the airport, where flights have been grounded since Sunday.

The international airport on Lombok, an island neighboring Bali, was also closed Monday night but reopened Tuesday, according to AirNav Indonesia, a state-owned air navigation company.

On Monday, the government raised the volcano alert to the highest level and expanded an evacuation zone around Mount Agung to a 6-mile radius.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia’s national disaster management agency, said Tuesday that more than 29,000 people had moved to established camps. An unknown number have relocated elsewhere, he said in a written statement. Others remained at home for various reasons, including to watch over homes and livestock, Sutopo said.

Officials say 90,000 to 100,000 people live in villages within the danger zone alongside the mountain, and as many as 150,000 may need to relocate. In September, when the volcano threatened to erupt, 145,000 people evacuated but later returned home.

Columns of ash continued to rise more than 2 miles above the crater, with the glowing red of lava visible at night. The volcano is emitting constant tremors, Sutopo said Tuesday afternoon on Twitter.

Two distinct columns of ash billowed from the volcano, one light grey and the other a darker shade. Experts said that was an indication that two vents had opened: one emitting more steam and the other spewing more ash from magma.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources said data from a NASA monitoring satellite showed a thermal anomaly in Mount Agung’s crater, indicating a significant amount of magma near the surface.

More than 400 flights were cancelled Tuesday, with about 60,000 passengers affected, Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism said.

Bali’s governor has ordered hotels to provide a night of free accommodation for tourists stranded by canceled flights. Tourism officials have advised visitors to travel by bus and ferry to Surabaya, a major city in East Java, to fly on to other destinations.

Emilio Kuzma-Floyd, an Australian photographer who lives in Canggu, on Bali’s southwestern coast about 40 miles from Mount Agong, said he noticed the first ash from the volcano fall near his home Tuesday morning.

“All of a sudden there’s more sense of urgency,” he said, “a lot more people talking about leaving, talking about going far west into Java and leaving from there.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and