Published: Wed, September 27, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Bali's menacing volcano puts some tourists' plans on back burner

Bali's menacing volcano puts some tourists' plans on back burner

Although officials have stressed that there is no immediate danger to tourists, a significant eruption would force Bali's worldwide airport to close, stranding thousands.

Mount Agung's eruptions in 1963 were among the most powerful and devastating last century in Indonesia, a country with more than 120 active volcanoes.

Mount Agung, 75 kilometres from the resort hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August and threatening to erupt for the first time since 1963 - a potential blow to the country's lucrative tourism industry.

Just yesterday, we reported that Bali's Mount Agung is on the verge of eruption.

Authorities have already ordered the evacuation of villagers living within a high danger zone that in places extends 7.5 miles from Mount Agung's crater.

"Chances of an eruption are high, but we can't say when", he said.

"Even with all the signs and calculation we have today no one can tell when is the eruption will occur", said Surono, an expert of volcanology and former head of Indonesia Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center.

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"The President's assistance came in various forms of goods worth more than IDR7, 1 billion", said Director General of Social Protection and Security Harry Hikmat from Jakarta, Tuesday.

In the event of an eruption and ash clouds that could disrupt air travel, authorities have made preparations for flights to be diverted to seven regional airports, including on Java and Lombok islands. It may remain there and slowly cool to form an intrusion (most typical scenario) or could lead to an eruption an time.

"Also they are anxious about the airport closing because an eruption is imminent".

Macquarie University volcanologist Heather Handley said the eruptions in 1843 and 1963 had a Volcanic Explosivity Index of about 5 on a scale where 8 would be the strength of an ancient super volcano eruption such as Yellowstone in the USA or Toba in Indonesia.

"We can meet their daily needs for the next few days", he said.

Local authorities reassured tourists that it was not risky to visit the island, and Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport continued to operate normally.

The U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom have issued travel advisories, warning its citizens of the danger.

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