Indonesia says Bali still ‘safe’ despite island’s Mount Agung volcano erupting again

Bali’s Mount Agung volcano erupted again twice on Sunday, April 21, one early in the morning and another later in the evening. Photo: Twitter/@Sutopo_PN

Bali’s Mount Agung volcano erupted again twice yesterday, one early in the morning and another later in the evening, though officials say activity on the tourist island can generally resume as normal.

According to The Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation’s Observation Post (PVMBG), the latest eruption, which occurred at 6.56pm local time, saw Mount Agung spewing ash columns as high as 3,000 meters above the surface of the crater, or 6,142 meters above sea level.

The thick, gray volcanic ash columns were blown by the wind towards the west. The eruption was recorded on seismograph as having a duration of approximately 1 minute and 22 seconds and reportedly spewed incandescent lava fragments around the mountain’s peak. The sound of the eruption could be heard by people in Bangli and Klungkung Regencies.

“The eruption was bigger than the first eruption at 3.21am, with ash columns reaching 2,000 meters high,” National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in an official statement yesterday.

Residents living near the active volcano and tourists are urged to pay attention to recommendations from PVMBG, which include refraining from going inside the volcano’s exclusion zone, which has been established at a 4km radius from Mount Agung’s crater.

Sutopo said officials have put Mount Agung on the Level III or Standby alert level, which does not necessitate residents to evacuate settlements near the volcano yet. There were thankfully no reports of casualties from the latest eruptions, but the eruption caused a drizzle of volcanic ash in several sub-districts in Karangasem. Bali Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) have also urged residents in Karangasem to wear face masks whenever they’re outdoors.

Officials say the eruptions have not affected flights going in and out of the island, with Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport operating normally since.

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