Around 100,000 people have been ordered to evacuate from homes within 10 kilometers of Mount Agung, an active volcano on Bali island in Indonesia, Reuters reports.
Agung began spewing ash clouds thousands of meters into the sky Saturday, forcing Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport to ground flights for 24 hours starting Monday morning. About 59,000 passengers are stranded.
Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Centre raised the alert level from three to four Monday morning, signaling that a major eruption could happen soon, Channel NewsAsia reports.
“People in south Bali – an area some 60 – 70 kilometers from the volcano – are in no direct threat from the volcano’s eruption,” Bali Tourism Board Chairman Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana said in a statement. “The ‘danger zone’ is a small area with a radius of approximately 10 kilometers from Mount Agung’s crater.”
Flights may remain grounded past Tuesday morning if ash in the air above the airport could hinder flights.
“While the sun is shining and there is little sign of volcanic ash in the southern regions of Bali, evidence of volcanic ash at higher altitudes on aviation approach and departure paths has prompted the decision to close the airport,” Adyana said.
Agung last erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,000 people. Whole villages were destroyed by lava and debris from the eruption, Reuters reports.
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