Indonesia’s Bali international airport was declared safe, operating normally following eruption of the island’s Mount Agung volcano on Thursday afternoon.
“Condition of I Gusti Ngurah Rai international remained secure and normally operating at present. Volcanic ash from Mount Agung did not spread to Denpasar,” National Disaster Mitigation Agency (Badan Nasional Penanggungan Bencana / BNPB) Spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said, referring to Bali province’s capital city where the airport sits in.
He added that the wind was now blowing to north-northeast direction, opposite to the direction of Denpasar in southern part of Bali.
The volcano’s eruption in late November had prompted authorities to close down the airport, disrupting international flights from and to the island which eventually battered the nation’s tourism sector. However, the Bali volcano has not had the same impact this time round with the BNPB spokesman confirming the airport is operating normally.
The latest eruption of Mount Agung occurred at 5:54 p.m. local time (0954 GMT) Thursday. The volcano that has been active since September last year blasted back smoke, billowing 2,500 meters high into the air.
Land tremors were also felt during the eruption, which lasted 130 seconds, the agency said.
Rain of ash was reported to be affecting villages not far from the volcano summit as the eruption column was 2.5 km high, the agency said.
Sutopo said status of the volcano was still set at highest alert of level 4 with dangerous zone set at 6 km around the volcano’s summit.
“Outside the 6 km danger zone is normal and safe,” Sutopo said.
As of now over 53,000 people were still displaced due to the ensuing volcanic events, he said, adding that they were now placed in 233 shelters.