Bali in Serious Danger
Indonesian authorities are preparing to divert flights to 10 airports across the country, in case an increasingly active volcano on the holiday island of Bali erupts and disrupts travel.
Officials have warned that Mount Agung could erupt at any time, prompting several countries, including Australia and Singapore, to issue travel advisories for one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
“Ten airports will serve as alternatives for flights bound for Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport, in case it is closed because of volcanic ash,” Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said yesterday.
Authorities are also preparing ferries to help people leave Bali in case air travel is disrupted, he said.
Airports in Jakarta, Surabaya, and Lombok are among those being prepared to allow diverted flights to land.
Bali’s airport is the country’s second busiest after Jakarta’s main international airport. It operated normally yesterday.
Nearly five million people visited Bali last year, mostly from Australia, China and Japan.
More than 75,000 residents have been evacuated from near the volcano and fears of an imminent eruption have prompted some travelers to rethink holiday plans.
Several airlines in Singapore and Australia said they are preparing for disruptions, but flights were running normally for now.
Mount Agung’s status was raised to the highest level last week, and authorities have imposed a 12 kilometer exclusion zone around it. A 4.3 magnitude quake shook the area yesterday, indicating that seismic activity remains high, officials said.
“The total number of tremors has decreased, but if we compare the strength (of tremors), it is definitely increasing,” said a spokesman at the national vulcanology agency. The volcano last erupted in 1963, killing about 1,000 people.
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