Mount Agung Causes Travel Disruption
27 Nov 2017
Around 100,000 people so far have been told to evacuate the area, with the exclusion zone increased to 8-10km. Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport has been closed, and around 445 flights have so far been cancelled. Indonesia’s National Disaster Management authority has raised the alert level to its highest level four.
- Around 100,000 people so far have been told to evacuate the area, with the exclusion zone increased to 8-10km.
- Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport has been closed, and around 445 flights have so far been cancelled.
- Indonesia’s National Disaster Management authority has raised the alert level to its highest level four.
Environmental: Mount Agung is currently showing signs of a possible major eruption, spewing volcanic ash over 10,000 feet into the air. The current eruption started on 21 November and has been steadily building in magnitude, with a noted increase in seismic activity in the vicinity of the volcano. On 27 November at 0600 local time, Indonesia’s National Disaster Management authority raised the alert level to its highest level four. This level indicates there is a possibility and imminent risk of disaster. So far there has been some cold lava flows, which have blocked several roads close to Mount Agung. There has also been some light rain which has caused localised flooding as it swept up volcanic debris. There are currently no reported injuries. Ngurah Rai International Airport has been closed and all flights grounded, with 445 flights cancelled so far including 196 international flights. JetStar, Virgin Australia, Air Asia, and Qatar Airways are among the airlines that have been affected. Other flights in the region are having to change course to go around the ash cloud causing delays elsewhere.
SOLACE GLOBAL COMMENT
The exclusion zone around the mountain has been expanded to its current level which extends to 8km in all directions of the mountain, with the north-eastern and southern sections of the mountain extended to 10km. This announcement was also met with the news that the Indonesian authorities wished to evacuate the population close to Mount Agung, whose numbers are around 100,000 residents. Only 40,000 people have successfully been evacuated with another 60,000 still in danger.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said that Bali’s international airport has been closed for 24 hours and authorities would consider reopening it on Tuesday after evaluating the situation. This will depend on the direction that the ash cloud is blown. There are thousands of tourists at the airport who have been stranded due to the effects of the volcano. The Indonesian government has said that it would offer free accommodation to stranded passengers who booked through the International Hotel and Restaurant Association whilst the Ngurah Rai International Airport remains closed. The airport on the neighboring island of Lombok is currently open, and the port in Gilimanuk in West Bali servicing ferries to the island of Java remains open. Some of the explosions emitted by Mount Agung can be heard up to 12 km away.
Mount Agung erupted on the 17 March in 1963 and killed over 1,500 people with approximately 75,000 being evacuated. The ash cloud reached 10km high and reached as far as Jakarta and Bandung, which are over 1,000km away. A mixture of hot gas and volcanic matter known as Pyroclastic flow caused most of the casualties. There is potential for a similar sized eruption to happen at Mount Agung. Authorities are worried of a similar scale event so are taking precautions, such as the exclusion zone.
Travellers are advised to follow the advice of the local authorities during the eruption. Travellers close to the volcano should adhere to the current 8-10 km exclusion zone around the Mount Agung, and if inside this zone they should leave immediately. It is also advised to follow local news sources for situational updates as to the progression of the ash cloud and also if a full eruption occurs. There are a number of steps that those in an active volcanic area should consider:
Before an Eruption â Have an emergency supply kit prepared. This should include non-perishable food, water, breathing masks, goggles, and torches with extra batteries. An emergency plan should also be in place so that all people in your family or group know what to do in case of an emergency.
During an Eruption â Most importantly, travellers should follow any evacuation orders issued by local authorities and immediately evacuate. It is also important that during an eruption, caution is paid to the threat of mudflows. Look upstream before crossing a bridge and do not cross if a mudflow is approaching. All river valleys and low-lying areas should be avoided if possible.
If unable to evacuate, it is vital to protect oneself from ash. It is important to stay inside with doors and windows shut until the ash settles, unless there is a threat of the roof collapsing. If no shelter is nearby it is strongly advised to use material to cover your face and mouth, so you do not breath in any of the volcanic ash. Listen to radio or tv transmissions for the latest emergency information. Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers, wear goggles but avoid wearing contact lenses, use a dust mask to help with breathing, stay away from downwind areas, clear heavy ash from roofs and gutters (if possible), and be aware that car engines may be clogged up by ash.
After an Eruption â Go to a shelter if told to evacuate or you feel unsafe. Continue to follow tv and radio transmissions on what is happening and what to do next.
Solace Global would advise travellers to use travel-tracking technology with an intelligence feed to stay up to date with the situation. Travellers using air travel in the region in the next few days should contact their airline to understand what effect Mount Agungâs eruption will have on any scheduled flights.
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