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Bali Volcano erupts, canceling flights for thousands

Posted November. 28, 2017 08:44,   

Updated November. 28, 2017 09:46


The eruption of Mount Agung, the tallest volcano of Indonesia’s resort island Bali, is in full swing. The local disaster management authorities have raised its alert level to danger, the highest there is.

At 6 a.m. on Monday (local time), the BNPB, the Indonesian national agency for disaster management, raised the alert level to the highest of danger. The evacuation zone has also been expanded from the radius of 6.0-7.5 kilometers to 8-10 kilometers, issuing an evacuation order to the local residents in all affected areas. Currently, as many as 140,000 residents have been evacuated.

According to Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Centre (PVMBG), Mt. Agung belched out volcanic ashes up to altitudes of 26,000 feet, and the ashes are slowly travelling to the southeast on the wind. Located in the Pacific Rim orogenic zone, Indonesia is highly prone to quakes and volcanic activities. In addition to Mt. Agung, the islands of Indonesia are home to nearly 130 active volcanoes.

Indonesia’s transport ministry will suspend the operation of Ngurah Rai International Airport for at least 24 hours. The halt is expected to cause confusion for the tourists who were planning to visit the Indonesian island for holiday season. According to South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, some 20 South Koreans are staying in Lombok Island, the island due ease of Bali, for short-term tourism.

Following the shut-down, airliners are offering an exemption of cancelation fees to their customers. Korean Air has announced that it will allow the cancellation of the KE629 flight due to depart Incheon at 6 p.m. on Monday and the KE630 flight due to depart Bali for Incheon at 1:25 a.m. on Tuesday without charging fees. Garuda Indonesia will also waive cancellation fees for the flights that depart Bali on Tuesday.

Su-Yeon Kim sykim@donga.com