Indonesia Prepares to Divert Bali-Bound Flights in Case of Volcanic Eruption

Indonesia: Mt Agung Volcano - Sep 2017
Exodus from Bali volcano nears 100000 as tremors intensify

01 October, 2017

More than 130,000 people have fled the region around the Mount Agung volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali, fearing it will soon erupt.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said hundreds of thousands of face masks will be distributed in Bali as part of government humanitarian assistance that includes thousands of mattresses and blankets.

Mount Agung's status was raised to the highest level last week and authorities have imposed a 12 km exclusion zone around it. Volcanologists have detected increased activity in the last week, but they are still unable to accurately predict the exact date and time of eruption.

He said: "The current unrest on Agung may well lead to an eruption, and it will be closely monitored by the Indonesian authorities, who have already taken preventative action by evacuating local populations".

People beyond the designated Bali evacuation zone are also retreating, including many tourists, according to CNN. "I think there are some people that either don't understand, or don't believe, or are just stubborn and don't want to go", said Kenny Peavy, an American expat who fled with his family last Friday. (AP) Over 75,000 residents have been evacuated from near the volcano in Indonesia and sleep at temporary shelters.

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"We've set a target to evacuate 20,000 more cows from the affected areas", Nugroho said. On Sunday night more than 300 tremors were recorded with smoke rising from the crater to a height of 200 meters.

The mountain, about 70 kilometres to the northeast of the tourist hotspot of Kuta, is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

The towering volcano's peak is the single highest point on the Pacific island of Bali, standing at 3,031 m (9,944 ft) tall.

"I am representing the Ministry of Transportation in expressing our deep concern and empathy to everyone being displaced from their homes due to the potential eruption of Mount Agung".

In the case of an eruption, Indonesia plans to divert flights headed for Bali to 10 other airports, including on nearby Lombok and the capital Jakarta.

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