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Bali volcano eruption LIVE UPDATES: Thousands flee as volcano alert raised to highest level

Bali volcano eruption LIVE UPDATES: Bali’s airport has been closed as a result of the increased warning level, according to Agoes Soebagio, an official at the Transportation Ministry.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: November 27, 2017 11:06:33 pm
Clouds of ashes rise from the Mount Agung volcano erupting in Karangasem, Indonesia. Indonesia authorities raised the alert for the rumbling volcano to highest level on Monday and closed the international airport on tourist island of Bali stranding thousands of travelers. (Source: AP Photo)

Indonesia has raised the alert for Bali’s Mount Agung volcano to the highest level of four on Monday and asked residents to immediately evacuate areas near the summit, warning of the “imminent” risk of a larger eruption. Flights were diverted from the island’s airport following the warning and the presence of volcanic ash from the erupting Agung.

“Continuing plumes of smoke are occasionally accompanied by explosive eruptions and the sound of weak blasts that can be heard up to 12 km (seven miles) from the peak,” the Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said in a statement.

SEE PICS: Bali volcano eruption

“Rays of fire are increasingly visible from night to the following day. This indicates the potential for a larger eruption is imminent,” it said.

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Here are the LIVE UPDATES: (As per IST)

11:03 pm: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj says she is monitoring the situation in Bali personally. Taking to Twitter, Swaraj says, “Indians in Bali – Pls do not worry. Pradeep Rawat Indian Ambassador in Jakarta @IndianEmbJkt and Sunil Babu Consul General @cgibali are on the job and I am monitoring this personally.”

04:50 pm: Authorities in China have arranged 100 buses for the Chinese people stranded in Bali, AP reported. 17,000 Chinese tourists are said to have been in Bali before the volcano erupted.

03:45 pm: AP reported that the closure of Bali’s airport has lead to delays across the nation. The closure is having a disruptive effect on flights around Indonesia and the surrounding regions.

03: 35 pm: The Bali government has warned locals near the Mount Agung volcano to stay away from rivers because of cold lava ploughing down the volcano’s slopes. They have also ordered people within 10 kms of the volcano to leave.

03:30 pm: Indonesian authorities have raised the state of alert to its highest level, and expanded the exclusion zone around the rumbling volcano, BBC reported.

03:20 pm: The airport is closed at least until 7am GMT (+7) on Tuesday, according to National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

03:15 pm: BBC reported that a warning has been issued over dangerous mud flows that look like wet concrete.

03:00 pm: AP reported that travelers can still leave Bali, though probably at significant cost, by taking a ferry from Gilimanuk port to Banyuwangi on Java island to the west and then traveling by car, train or plane to the Indonesian capital Jakarta for international connections.  Another possible route is a ferry to the neighboring island of Lombok and then a flight to Java though ash temporarily closed Lombok’s airport on Sunday and there could be further closures.

For more information, read the full story here: Bali volcano: What travellers need to know

02.40 pm: Some governments are advising citizens to defer travel to the island. Malaysia’s foreign ministry said all but non-urgent travel should be delayed while Australia, a big source of tourists for Bali, said people should be aware that ash clouds could also close other airports in Indonesia depending on weather conditions.

A spokesman for major Japanese travel bureau JTB Corp. said all tours set to depart Monday from Japan were canceled because of the airport closure. Yoshimi Tajima said some people can’t change their travel dates and are switching to other destinations while others are changing the dates. “What will happen from tomorrow is still unclear,” she said.

02.30 pm: The Mount Agung volcano on Bali has erupted for the first time in more than half a century.

02.15 pm: 

02.00 pm: 

 

1.30 pm: Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news conference in Jakarta that about 40,000 people have evacuated but others have not left because they feel safe or don’t want to abandon their livestock. “Authorities will comb the area to persuade them,” he said. “If needed we will forcibly evacuate them.”

1.00 pm: Villager Putu Sulasmi said she fled Monday with her husband and other family members to a sports center that’s serving as an evacuation center. We came here on motorcycles. We had to evacuate because our house is just 3 miles from the mountain. We were so scared with the thundering sound and red light from the peak,” she said.

12.00 pm: Indonesia sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” and has more than 120 active volcanoes. Mount Agung’s alert status was raised to the highest level in September following a dramatic increase in tremors from the volcano, which doubled the exclusion zone around the crater and prompted more than 140,000 people to leave the area. The alert was lowered on October 29 after a decrease in activity but about 25,000 people remained in evacuation centers.

11.35 am: Geological agency head, Kasbani has said the alert level was raised because the volcano has shifted from steam-based eruptions to magmatic eruptions. He told Indonesian television on Monday morning that he did not expect a big eruption but added “we have to stay alert and anticipate.”

11.20 am: A chart to understand the current volcano situation in Bali, Indonesia.

11.10 am:  Authorities say the airport closure is in effect until Tuesday morning and is being reviewed every six hours.

11.00 am: Major ferry crossing points have been advised to prepare for a surge in passengers and vehicles. Stranded tourists could leave Bali by taking a ferry to neighboring Java and then travel by land to the nearest airports.

10.45 am:  Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency says as many as 100,000 villagers need to leave the expanded danger zone around the Mount Agung volcano on Bali, but that less than half that number have left. Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news conference in Jakarta that the extension of the danger zone to 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the crater in places affects 22 villages and about 90,000 to 100,000 people.

10.38 am: Indonesia’s Directorate General of Land Transportation says 100 buses are being deployed to Bali’s international airport and to ferry terminals to help travelers stranded by the eruption of Mount Agung.

10.25 am: Tourism business has slumped in Bali since September when Agung’s volcanic tremors began to increase.

10.00 am: “I’m not worried (but) my friends in Russia are a little bit worried,” said a Russian tourist, who only wanted to be identified as Dmitry, at an observation post in Rendang in Bali’s east.

A tourist poses for a photo with Mount Agung volcano erupting as they visit a temple in Karangasem, Indonesia, Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. Indonesian authorities raised the alert for a rumbling volcano on Bali to the highest level on Monday, stranding tens of thousands of travelers as ash clouds forced the closure of the tourist island’s international airport. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

09.35 am: “We now have to find a hotel and spend more of our money that they’re not going to cover us for when we get home unfortunately,” said Canadian tourist Brandon Olsen who was stranded at Bali’s airport with his girlfriend.

09.25 am:  Video released by Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency shows water and volcanic debris flowing down the slopes of the ash-spewing Mount Agung on Bali as rain falls on the island.

09.15 am:

08.55 am: Cold lava flows, also known as lahar, are expected to increase amid an eruption of Mount Agung, a disaster agency said on Monday, after sounding its highest-level warning over the volanco’s activity. “Watch out for lahar floods (cold lava) around Mt Agung,” agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on social network Twitter. “Lahar floods have already occurred in several places on the slopes,” he added, referring to expectations of increased rain in the current wet season.

08.45 am: Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency says Bali’s international airport is closed for 24 hours due to volcano alert. Tens of thousands of travellers are stranded. Flight information boards showed rows of cancelations as tourists arrived at the busy Bali airport expecting to catch flights home.

A view of Mount Agung volcano erupting from Culik village in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Johannes P. Christo

08.35 am: Indonesian authorities raise alert for Bali volcano to highest level, order people within 10 kilometres to leave. “In anticipation of the possibility and imminent risk of disaster, PVMBG (the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Centre) raised Mount Agung alert level from three to four,” the Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said in a statement.

08.25 am: Jet Airways 9W4622 from Bali Denpasar Airport (DPS) to Singapore cancelled after an eruption at Mount Agung (ANI)

08.15 am: Malaysia Airlines will be cancelling all flights between Kuala Lumpur and Denpasar-Bali on November 27 after an eruption. The airline is monitoring the situation closely and will adjust its flight operations into, out of Ngurah Rai International Airport when necessary (ANI)

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The mount rises majestically over eastern Bali at a height of just over 3,000 metres (9,800 feet). When it last erupted in 1963, it had killed more than 1,000 people and razed several villages.

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