Bali Volcano Watch: Authorities Prep Island for Possible Eruption

Sep 27, 2017

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Mount Agung in Bali is experiencing unprecedented levels of volcanic activity and could erupt at any time if tremors continue, according to Indonesian authorities. Mount Agung is one of many active volcanoes in the Ring of Fire, a string of volcanoes and seismic activity that runs through the Indonesian archipelago and along the edges of the Pacific Ocean.

People are strongly encouraged to stay out of the danger zone, a designated five- to seven-mile radius around the volcano. Over 75,000 local residents have evacuated as of Tuesday, September 26. On Wednesday, a 4.3 magnitude earthquake was felt in the area, according to Reuters.

Bali is a popular travel destination with nearly five million people visiting as of last year. Though no ash cloud is present yet, Indonesia’s Transportation Minister said that 10 other airports, including Jakarta (CGK), Surabaya (SUB) and Lombok (LOP) are prepared to accept flight diversions from Bali.

bali rice paddies 2
Image by Brian Biros.

Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport, better known as Denpasar International Airport (DPS), is the second busiest airport in the country after Jakarta (CGK). The Transportation Ministry estimates that at least 5,000 air passengers scheduled to depart from Bali could be affected in the event of an airport closure. According to Transportation Minister Budi Karya, authorities are also preparing ferries to help people leave Bali in case air travel is disrupted.

Volcanic eruptions have affected tourism in Bali and other parts of Indonesia in the past — this exact volcano last erupted in 1963, and more than 1,000 people were killed.

The area is on high alert, which has led to other nations, including Australia and Singapore, to issue travel advisories for Bali. Currently, flights are operating as scheduled, though airlines have said that they’re preparing for disruptions, should the volcano erupt. Virgin Australia said it would add a fuel stop in Darwin (DRW) for some of its flights between Australia and Bali in case flights forced to turn back. Singapore Airlines said customers traveling between September 23 and October 2 could rebook flights or ask for a refund.

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