By Hannah Stafford, News Editor
Recent volcano activity has alienated the island of Bali and stranded thousands of tourists. Mount Agung volcano in Karangasem, Indonesia, recently gained international attention and on Monday, Nov. 27, forced the evacuations of over 100,000 people.
According to FOX News, Indonesian authorities expanded the established danger zone to six miles, due to spewing ash that reached 9,800 feet into the atmosphere. Its eruptions have been heard from over seven miles away.
In a news conference in Jakarts, spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that the extension of the danger zone affects 22 villages and about 90,000 to 100,000 people. About 40,000 people have evacuated, but many refuse to leave because they feel safe or don’t want to abandon their homes and livestock.
“Authorities will comb the area to persuade them,” he said. “If needed, we will forcibly evacuate them.”
Officials at the Disaster Mitigation Agency said in a statement Monday that a volcanic eruption is “imminent.” Experts said lava has begun to well up in the crater and the agency raised the volcano’s alert to the highest level early Monday. The agency now fears an eruption larger than the one originally expected.
“Continuing plumes of smoke are occasionally accompanied by explosive eruptions and the sound of weak blasts that can be heard up to 12 km (seven miles) from the peak,” the statement read, according to Reuters.
“Rays of fire are increasingly visible from night to the following day. This indicates the potential for a larger eruption is imminent,” it added.
The volcano last erupted in 1963 and killed over 1,100 people. Over 59,000 tourists are stranded on the island, as hundreds of flights were cancelled. According to CNN, officials are closely monitoring the situation to determine when the airport may reopen.
Photo courtesy of Richard van Wijngaarden