The Latest: Indonesia says 100,000 should leave volcano zone
KARANGASEM, Indonesia (AP) — The Latest on a rumbling volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali (all times local):
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.
The volcano’s alert was raised to the highest level earlier Monday and ash clouds have forced the closure of Bali’s international airport.
Nugroho said about 40,000 people have evacuated but others have not left because they feel safe or don’t want to abandon their livestock.
He said that “authorities will comb the area to persuade them. If needed, we will forcibly evacuate them.”
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.
Bali’s international airport was closed early Monday after ash from the volcano reached its airspace. Hundreds of flights were canceled and tens of thousands of travelers affected.
The agency’s chief, Budi, said 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.
Authorities say the airport closure is in effect until Tuesday morning and is being reviewed every six hours.
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.
Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said people should stay away from rivers and not enter the 10 kilometer (6 mile) exclusion zone around the volcano.
He says lahars could increase as it’s rainy season in Bali. The mudflows can move rapidly and are a frequent killer during volcanic eruptions.
Mount Agung has been hurling ash thousands of meters into the atmosphere since the weekend, forcing the closure of Bali’s airport and stranding tens of thousands of travelers.
Tens of thousands of travelers are stranded in Bali after ash from the Mount Agung volcano on the tourist island forced the international airport to close early Monday.
Flight information boards showed rows of cancelations as tourists arrived at the busy Bali airport expecting to catch flights home.
Airport spokesman Air Ahsanurrohim said 445 flights were canceled, stranding about 59,000 travelers.
Authorities say seven flights were diverted to airports in Jakarta, Surabaya and Singapore when the closure was announced early Monday.
Mount Agung has been hurling ash thousands of meters into the atmosphere, which forced the small international airport on the neighboring island of Lombok to close Sunday as the plumes drifted east. It has since reopened.
Airport authorities say the decision to close Bali’s I Gusti Ngurah Rai airport was made after tests showed ash had reached its airspace.
Indonesian authorities raised the alert for a menacing volcano on the tourist island of Bali to the highest level Monday and ordered people within 10 kilometers (6 miles) to evacuate.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said Bali’s international airport had closed for 24 hours and authorities would consider reopening it Tuesday after evaluating the situation.
Mount Agung has been hurling ash thousands of meters into the atmosphere, which forced the small international airport on the neighboring island of Lombok to close Sunday as the plumes drifted east.
Geological agency head, Kasbani, who goes by one name, said the alert level was raised at 6 a.m. on Monday because the volcano has shifted from steam-based eruptions to magmatic eruptions. However he says he’s still not expecting a major eruption.
“We don’t expect a big eruption but we have to stay alert and anticipate,” he says.
Previously the exclusion zone around the volcano ranged between 6 and 7.5 kilometers.
The volcano’s last major eruption in 1963 killed about 1,100 people.