Ash blankets villages, flights cancelled after Bali volcano erupts

Posted November 27, 2017

The volcano first erupted on Tuesday, sending clouds of ash as high as 13,000ft (4000m) above the summit and bathing the mountain in an orange glow.

Indonesia's disaster management agency said the eruptions were no longer "phreatic", which means they are triggered by water hitting superheated rocks and usually short-lived.

While the airport remains in operation, several major carriers have cancelled flights.

Away from the airport, closer to the volcano, there are no new evacuations and so far no plans to extend an evacuation zone that reaches up to 7.5 kilometres from the crater. Chances are that the eruption intensifies in the coming days, but just how much and how long it will last, and how unsafe it might become, is impossible to say at the moment. Increased volcanic activity had prompted fears a major eruption was imminent.

Bali is a popular tourist destination, known for its seaside resorts and sandy beaches.

Several thousand people were affected by Saturday's flight cancellations. Garuda Indonesia flights from and to the city of Lombok will be served again after the volcanic ash spread from Mount Agung eases and returns in normal situation. "So we are very disappointed about that".

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About 25,000 people are thought to still be in temporary shelters after more than 140,000 people fled earlier this year.

The Mt. Agung volcano, which towers over eastern Bali at a height of just over 3,000 meters (9,800 feet), is about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the island's main tourist areas of Kuta and Seminyak.

Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the volcano's alert status remains at the second-highest level.

Indonesia has more active volcanoes than any other country, including some of the world's most famous, such as: Krakatau (Krakatoa), Tambora, and Merapi.

The last time the volcano had a major eruption, in 1963, more than 1,000 people perished.