Thousands Are Evacuated as Volcano in Indonesia Prepares to Erupt

The fear of an enormous volcanic eruption from Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia has resulted in thousands of residents being evacuated from the island. Smoke and ash first started erupting from the volcano on Saturday, Nov. 25, but officials are now increasing the alert to the highest level and warning anyone within an 8-10 kilometer radius of the volcano to leave immediately.

The dangerous volcano led to Bali’s main airport, Ngurah Rai International Airport, to shut down, additionally leaving thousands stranded on the island with no flight out. The ash from the volcano is believed to have risen more than five miles into the air as of Monday, effectively decreasing aviation safety. The airport is expected to reopen on Tuesday, Nov. 28, and another airport in eastern Bali, Lombok International, has already resumed flights.

Mount Agung was first identified as a potential erupter in early September and resulted in the evacuation of 140,000 people from the island. Activity around the volcano decreased through October but clearly wasn’t anywhere near done. The last time Mount Agung fully erupted in 1963, more than 1,700 people were killed.

Despite the lives and land that are at risk of this eruption, people seem more concerned over the fact that their planned vacations are ruined. Bali is Indonesia’s top tourist island, and its plentiful resorts and beaches attract nearly five million foreigners each year.  However, it is important to remember that the safety of all people currently on the island must be prioritized. So, if you (by any chance) had your flight canceled, it is understandably frustrating, but please be thankful that you are not on stuck on the island like thousands of others are.

Villages that are economically dependent on the tourism in Bali are worried as the threat of the volcano has essentially caused visitors to all but disappear. Fields and buildings are in the path of destruction should the volcano erupt, and the multitude of lives that would be affected by this are not receiving the coverage they should be. Hopefully, residents on the island will be fully prepared for the eruption by the time it occurs.

Photo Credits: Wikimedia

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