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Indonesia: Bali airport stays shut due to volcanic ash

Society 28.11.2017 | 10:35

YOGYAKARTA, 28 November (BelTA - Anadolu Agency) - Indonesian authorities said Tuesday they have extended the closure of Bali's I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport for a further 24 hours because of ash from the eruption of Mt. Agung.

The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said the airport closure is required for safety reasons since the volcanic ash reached a height of about 3 kilometers (about 2 miles) into the atmosphere.

The Transportation Ministry initially closed the airport Monday morning for 24 hours, cancelling more than 400 flights and stranding nearly 60,000 domestic and international passengers.

BNPB raised the volcano's alert to the highest level Monday and expanded an exclusion zone to 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the crater. More than 100,000 people living around the mountain area have been ordered to evacuate.

"The Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation continues to report growing volcanic activity, with greater opportunities for eruptions, but it cannot be determined how much intensity," BNPB's spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement.

Nugroho said nearly 30,000 residents living in the danger zone have been displaced after the government raised the alert for Mt. Agung to the highest level in September.

"Not all people in the danger zone are willing to evacuate. Until now, there are still many people who are remaining in their homes."

Mt. Agung last erupted in 1963, killing about 1,100 people.

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