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

  • Companies listed on CSX receive 50% deduction on income tax

    Tax incentives are granted to companies that have listed their shares or issued debt securities on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), whether they are small to medium-sized enterprises or large companies. The nine stock listed companies on the CSX – with seven listed on the Main

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Cambodia mourns over UK’s Queen Elizabeth II

    Cambodia has joined other nations around the world to mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, with King Norodom Sihanomi, Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly president Heng Samrin extending their condolences in separate letters. In his letter to the late Queen’s son –

  • Final verdicts for Khmer Rouge leaders ‘vital’ for next generation

    Nearly a decade after the commencement of Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan back in 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is now set to deliver its final verdict for the former Khmer Rouge head of state. The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC,

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Railway project studies proceed

    The transport ministry is exploring options to expedite preliminary studies on key public railway infrastructure projects, especially the conversion of the Northern Railway Line that links to Thailand into high-speed rail. Railway freight and passenger transportation has been pinpointed as a major potential engine of