Thousands Stuck In Bali As Mount Agung Prepares To Erupt Again

(Image Via BNPB Facebook)

Over 50,000 domestic and international travelers stuck in Bali as Mount Agung eruptions continue

  • On Saturday Mount Agung erupted three times and has continued erupting since

  • Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana has warned of “increasing volcanic activity”

  • Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation reissued a red level aviation warning on Monday

In Bali, Mount Agung erupted three times on Saturday with more eruptions following on Sunday, including a “medium-pressure” event during the evening.

Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana

On Monday night, “rays of fire” were observed in the volcano’s crater. On Tuesday, Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana warned of “increasing volcanic activity.” Just 17 hours ago, the BNPB made the following post to their Facebook page.

* MAGMATIC AGRICULTURAL ERUPSI, STRAIGHT INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT RAI BACK CLOSED *

Mount Agung eruption continues. This magmatic eruption continues to smoke and gray ash with medium intensity with a volcanic ash column height of about 2,500 – 3,000 meters above the summit crater. The rays of fire from lava are observed at night. Smoke is leaning to the west of the data. Tremor is still continuous with amplitude 1-2 millimeter dominant 1 millimeter. Caution Status (level 4).

PVMBG continues to report increasing volcanic activity. Opportunities for greater eruptions are increasing. However, it can not be determined how much intensity. Estimating the character of the eruption of Mount Agung in the future tends to be more difficult than other mountains due to the absence of instrumental data as a comparison with previous eruptions.

The dominant volcanic ash spread leads to the southwest. The results of Himawari satellite image analysis from BMKG show that the spread of volcanic ash to the southwest, attracted by Tropical Cyclone Cempaka which is currently located in the Indian Ocean in the south of Yogyakarta. This low pressure center causes volcanic ash to follow the motion of a tropical cyclone.

The direct impact of the distribution of ash is the disruption of aviation safety. Based on data analysis and prediction of wind direction and speed from BMKG on 28/11/2017 at 02.00 – 08.00 WITA shows that the direction of the wind from north to northeast with a speed of 5-10 knots. SIGMET information from Ujung Pandang MWO shows that volcanic ash moves south-southwest and covers air space above I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport. Analysis of the Airnav Indonesia Branch of Denpasar also shows that the plot of the area of ​​the air traffic guidance route has been covered by the spread of volcanic ash.

Therefore the Airport Authority of Region IV Bali Nusra extends the closure of Airport International Airport I Gusti Ngurah Rai. Airport closed until 29/11/2017 at 07:00 WITA. Evaluation will be done per 6 hours. Meanwhile Lombok International Airport reopened from 28/11/2017 at 06:00 WITA, having previously closed.

The public should not engage in any activity within 8 km of the Gunung Agung crater and added sectoral extension to the North-East and Southeast-South-Southwest as far as 10 km from the crater of Mount Agung. There are 22 villages in a danger zone. The number of people living within the danger zone is estimated at 90,000 – 100,000 people. The absence of valid data from various sources makes it difficult to calculate the number of people to be evacuated. Based on BPS data, the number of people affected in dangerous radius is 63,000 people. Meanwhile, data from Open Street Map as many as 117,000 people, Asia Pop as many as 68,000 people, and the statement of the Governor of Bali as many as 140,000 inhabitants. BNPB will conduct a coordination meeting with the local government to ensure the number of residents to be evacuated.

Temporary data, the population of 29,023 people spread in 217 points of refuge. Not all refugee data have been recorded by the officers. In addition to Bali, there are also people who fled to Lombok. Governor of Bali has appealed to the community to evacuate around Karangasem regency only.

Not all people in dangerous radius are willing to evacuate. Until now there are still many people who remain in the house. There are various reasons that make them reluctant to evacuate, such as the reason still feel safe even though Mount Agung has erupted, the reason to keep cattle and gardens, the reason for trust, and others. Officers continue to persuade people to evacuate and assist the evacuation of livestock.

In general the handling of refugees takes place well. There is no panic in the community. The previous experience when Gunung Agung was declared the First Watch Status on 22/9/2017 at 20.30 WITA and the intensive socialization of the anticipation of the eruption caused the community to be better prepared.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho
Head of Data Information and Public Relations BNPB

Red Level Aviation Warning

Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation reissued a red level aviation warning on Monday due to Mount Agung’s continued eruption. On Tuesday it was announced that Ngurah Rai International Airport would remain grounded for at least another 24 hours.

Due to volcanic ash, all flights out of the airport have been grounded until Wednesday at 7:00 am leaving over 50,000 domestic and international passengers stranded during the ongoing eruptions. BNPB has said there would be a reevaluation of keeping the airports closed every six hours.

Mount Agung has been spewing clouds of white and gray ash just over 13,000 feet into the atmosphere. At the same time, there are growing concerns over the lava welling up in the crater. Indonesian authorities have warned residents of an “imminent” risk for a larger eruption.

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About Meko Haze

Meko Haze is an independent journalist by day... and an independent journalist by night.

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