Trav­el­ers banned from hik­ing as In­done­sia’s Bali vol­cano erupts

Global Times - Weekend - - TRAVEL - Xin­hua

Indonesian au­thor­i­ties have pro­hib­ited tourists from hik­ing in the ra­dius of four kilo­me­ters from the crater of the Mount Agung vol­cano, which erupted on Sun­day, while res­i­dents on the slope of the moun­tain have been or­dered to ex­er­cise cau­tion over the flow of lava dur­ing heavy down­pours, dis­as­ter agency of­fi­cial said.

The erup­tion of Mount Agung trig­gered rain of vol­canic ash cov­er­ing eight vil­lages and town in the Karang Asem district, but did not lead to evac­u­a­tion, Ida Ba­gus Ke­tut Arim­bawa, head of the op­er­a­tional de­part­ment of the dis­as­ter man­age­ment and mit­i­ga­tion agency in the district told the Xin­hua News Agency over the phone.

But the height of col­umn of the vol­canic ash spewed could not be found out as the vol­cano was cov­ered by heavy clouds, the of­fi­cial said.

“Tourists and res­i­dents are not al­lowed to hike the moun­tain, the ac­tiv­ity is only al­lowed to be un­der­taken in the area beyond five kilo­me­ters from the crater,” said Ke­tut.

The beau­ti­ful Bali tourist re­sort is the cen­ter of the Indonesian tourism in­dus­try, nearly 600,000 out of over 1 mil­lion for­eign tourists com­ing into In­done­sia ev­ery month spend their time on Bali is­land, ac­cord­ing to data from the na­tional sta­tis­tics bureau.

As rain has started pour­ing down on Bali since Novem­ber, the start of wet sea­son in In­done­sia, Ke­tut said that of­fi­cials of the agency had called the peo­ple liv­ing along Tuka­di­asyah river whose up­stream is in the flank of the Mount Agung vol­cano to keep alert con­cern­ing pos­si­ble floods car­ry­ing huge amount of cold lava and other vol­canic ma­te­ri­als dur­ing heavy down­pours.

“For now, lava and sev­eral vol­canic ma­te­ri­als have al­ready flown into the up­stream of the river. Rain has poured down fre­quently, but the heavy down­pours, which will sweep lava and vol­canic ma­te­ri­als down­stream, have not oc­curred so far,” said Ke­tut.

Mount Agung, si­t­u­ated about 70 kilo­me­ters from the tourist hub of Kuta, has weath­ered a series of erup­tions since Septem­ber 2017, shoot­ing a col­umn of vol­canic ash into the sky with chunks of lava tum­bling down its slope, ac­cord­ing to the coun­try’s vol­canol­ogy agency.

The erup­tion has harmed avi­a­tion and forced more than 144,000 peo­ple to flee home, the dis­as­ter agency said.

In its last erup­tion in 1963, more than 1,100 peo­ple were killed.

The Mount Agung vol­cano is one of the 129 ac­tive vol­ca­noes in In­done­sia, a vast archipelagic na­tion home to over 17,500 is­lands.

Mount Agung

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