Locals are clearing out as Bali’s Mount Agung reaches its highest eruption warning level.
Tourists who are able to convince travel insurers are changing travel plans, and locals are fleeing evacuation zones around Agung. An eruption seems eminent in what Trip Advisor ranks as travelers’ top tourist destination.
New.com.au said that 240,000 people are expected to flee. Locals that live close to the mountain have commented that there is no doubt about an eruption taking place. The government is trying to get people back 7.5 miles away from the central crater. In certain directions from the crater, 5.6 miles back is enough to be out of danger, reportedly.
The volcano is a popular hiking spot and and tourist destination, and is not far from Kuta, a popular resort. People in the area have been feeling a number of tremors, as magma travels underground and makes its way upward. A volcano monitoring station recorded 500 tremors in a day.
Tourists in the area are getting frightened by the sight of locals packing up and fleeing. Not all tourists are changing travel plans though. Some tourists are a taking chance and following through with previously scheduled trips to the Indonesian island. Some are will not be reimbursed by travel insurance if they had to change their trip plans, since an eruption hasn’t burst forth.
Airlines are monitoring the situation and travel hubs are keeping operations up as much as possible. Phil Sylvester from Travel Insurance Direct told News.com.au of the things people should be most concerned about at this time.
“Two years ago, there were volcanoes that blew ash clouds, which meant that airspace over Denpasar was closed so people were stranded in Bali. That is mainly the type of thing that could happen. I don’t think people should be particularly worried about being the victim of a volcanic eruption but they very well may be victims of interruption to transport.”
Authorities can’t predict when an eruption will occur, but can only monitor the volcanic activity and issue warnings. Agung last erupted 54 years ago. Authorities would like to avoid the level of disaster that eruption brought. Agung is one of Indonesia’s 130 active volcanoes.