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26 November, 2017 02:17:32 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 26 November, 2017 06:03:22 PM

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Bali's Mount Agung spews ash up to 4,000m

Independent Online Desk
Bali's Mount Agung spews ash up to 4,000m
Photo: BBC

Bali’s Mount Agung volcano erupted on Sunday (Nov 26), spewing a column of ash up to 4,000m into the atmosphere and forcing the authorities to ban flights over the area. 

The island’s airport 70km south of the volcano remains open but flights have been disrupted, officials said.

In the most powerful series of eruptions so far, the volcano erupted three times on Sunday morning, a spokesman for the national disaster management agency (BNPB), Dr Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said. The previous two eruptions on Sunday spread ash up to 3,000m and 2,000m high, he added.

The eruptions, involving steam and ash, were continuing on Sunday, Dr Sutopo told The Straits Times.

The ash cloud is moving to the south-east of the crater, heading to nearby Lombok, the spokesman said. Flights to and from Lombok have also been affected.

The centre of volcanology and geological hazard mitigation (PVMBG) raised the volcano observatory notice for aviation to the highest level, said the official. Planes were banned from flying above the territory.

PVMBG said on its website that the colour code for aviation has been increased from orange to red, the highest.“VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) colour code red means only certain areas are affected. It does not mean the airport must close,” BNPB’s Dr Sutopo told The Straits Times in a mobile message reply.Flights at Bali’s main Ngurah Rai airport resumed on Sunday after several airlines opted to cancel flights on Saturday night, Wayan Ari, an information officer at Ngurah Rai airport, told The Straits Times.

But there were some cancellations on Sunday, said Ms Rahayu (who goes by one name), another information officer at Ngurah Rai airport. She said three international flights and one domestic flight, all arrivals, have been cancelled. AirAsia said its Bali-Perth flight scheduled for 3.45pm has been cancelled.On the neighbouring island of Lombok, Garuda cancelled flights to Bali, Surabaya, Jakarta and Bima, Ms Oki Ovaliani, an information officer at Lombok airport, told The Straits Times. AirAsia also said it cancelled all Lombok flights on Sunday to and from Kuala Lumpur. 

Lion, Batik and Wings Air flights have continued as normal to Lombok.Mount Agung has been rumbling since September, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee to shelters. It began a series of mild eruptions, called phreatic eruptions, last week. 

Phreatic eruptions are a common precursor of volcanic activity. The eruptions are triggered by groundwater flashing to steam, heated by magma. No lava is ejected in such instances. The mountain’s last major eruptions occurred in 1963-64, killing more than 1,000 people.

The authorities have been ordered to immediately distribute masks to several villages in affected areas. The volcano also erupted on Saturday, starting at 5.30pm local time and going on for some time, with ash going up 1,500m, disrupting flights.

Eight scheduled arrivals and 13 departures were cancelled by several airlines, affecting a total of 2,087 passengers, the national disaster management agency said in a statement late on Saturday.

Local residents living within a radius of 6km to 7.5km, depending on which side of the volcano they are on, have been urged to evacuate. These areas have been declared as danger zones, although some residents have opted to stay.

KK

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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