UPDATE: Bali, Mt Agung

28 Nov 2017

INDONESIA (Country Risk Rating: High) - Bali Airport Closed until November 28; Mount Agung Alert Raised to Highest Level 

Authorities raised the alert status of Bali's Mount Agung from 3 to 4 - the highest on the scale - at around 0600 on November 27, after the volcano's eruption intensified. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) has closed for 24 hours, and authorities would consider reopening it on November 28 after evaluating the situation. Officials closed the nearby Lombok International Airport (LOP) the morning of November 26 until early November 27; the airport's closure could be further extended depending on the volcano's activity. Individual airlines may still suspend flights even after the airports reopen.

Authorities have also extended the exclusion zone from 7.5 km (4.5 miles) to 10 km (6 miles), and issued warnings for the public to remain outside the zone with the likelihood of a major eruption now increasing. Officials have been ordered immediately to distribute masks to several villages in affected areas. Ground transport disruptions are also occurring near the volcano, as the ash has covered roads, cars, and nearby buildings.

Analysis: The volcano's most recent activity began in September, prompting officials to order 140,000 residents to leave the immediate area. Three minor eruptions early November 26 shot ash and smoke as high as 4,000 metres (13,120 feet) into the air. Prevailing winds carried the plumes eastward, and prompted authorities briefly to raise the Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) from Orange (the second highest of four levels) to Red (the highest level). A Red notice signifies that an eruption of ash is imminent or underway, and typically lasts until the eruption has definitively ceased. The brief elevation in the VONA level prompted delays or cancellations of around 30 flights at LOP and DPS. An earlier minor eruption of Mount Agung, the evening of November 25, emitted a smoke and ash plume about 1,500 metres (4920 feet) into the air. The volcano's last significant eruption in 1963 killed nearly 1,600 people

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