- Bali’s Denpasar Airport closed on Monday following a several volcanic eruptions by Mount Agung on the weekend.
- Flight cancellations affected 59,000 passengers on 445 flights.
- As many as 100,000 locals were living in the expanded danger zone.
- The weekend’s volcanic eruptions created plumes as high as 3.7 miles, or 6,000 meters.
- A representative for Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said “things could get back to normal within a few weeks.”
An ash cloud forced the main airport on the Indonesian island of Bali to close on Monday.
International flights at Denpasar Airport were canceled following a volcanic eruption by Mount Agung on Saturday evening and a further three eruptions on Sunday.
Fifty-nine thousand passengers on 445 canceled flights – including 196 international flights – have been affected, the airport said in a statement.
Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency said that Denpasar Airport was closed for 24 hours and that authorities would consider reopening it Tuesday morning after evaluating the situation.
Ash has been confirmed on the ground at Denpasar Airport, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.
The weekend’s volcanic eruptions sent ash 13,000 feet, or 4,000 meters, into the atmosphere and created plumes as high as 3.7 miles, or 6,000 meters, Reuters reported.
Indonesian authorities have raised the alert for Bali’s volcano to its highest level, ordering people within 10 kilometers to evacuate over fears of an “imminent” risk of a larger eruption.
A representative for Indonesia’s National Board for Disaster Management said the volcano warning status was raised from “standby” to “beware” at 6 a.m. local time on Monday after the volcano began having magmatic eruptions rather than steam-based eruptions, according to Associated Press.
The Australian airline Jetstar had canceled nine flights following Saturday’s eruption but resumed most of its flights Sunday after its senior pilots assessed that flights were safe.
Tens of thousands have been left stranded
Thousands of travellers have been left without flights, and people have begun arriving at local evacuation centres.
The Indonesian government said on Twitter that it would offer free accommodation to stranded passengers who booked hotels through the International Hotel and Restaurant Association while the Bali airport remains closed.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency also said that as many as 100,000 locals in 22 affected villages needed to leave the expanded danger zone around the volcano but that less than half that number have left, Associated Press reported.
A representative for Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said that if current winds continued to push smoke away from affected areas, “things could get back to normal within a few weeks.”
Mount Agung’s alert status was raised to the highest possible level in September following increased tremors from the volcano, whose most recent major eruption killed about 1,100 people in 1963. A major eruption is not expected at this time.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire, a place characterised by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Indonesia has more than 120 active volcanoes.
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