Bali’s I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport is operating normally despite the eruption of Mount Agung on Thursday evening as the airspace above the airport has been declared clear of volcanic ash based on a paper test.
“Airport activities and operations at I Gusti Ngurah Rai remain normal,” the airport’s communication and legal section head, Arie Ahsanurrohim, said on Friday.
Mt. Agung, in Karangasem regency, erupted on Thursday for two minutes and 32 seconds at 6.25 p.m. Central Indonesia Time.
The Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG) maintained the alert status at level three, with the danger zone remaining within a 4-kilometer radius from the crater, reminding the public, including tourists, to stay clear of the danger zone.
The eruption has not deterred hundreds of Balinese who flocked to Besakih temple, Bali’s mother temple, to pray. “Everyone is still praying. The situation is normal,” said Komang Suriadi who prayed at the temple on Thursday evening with his family.
Suriadi added that the eruption could not be seen from Besakih, which is about 4 km from the volcano’s crater. “It was cloudy in Besakih. So, we could not see Mt. Agung,” he said, adding that there was no ash in the area after the eruption.
However, ash fell on Ban village, which is on the slopes of Mt. Agung. The eruption caused panic among villagers and at least 20 families fled their homes and took refuge in the village office. However, they have all returned home.
“We have urged people not to panic. We have coordinated with the PVMBG. They declared that the alert status has been maintained at level three, and the danger zone remains 4 km from the crater,” said Karangasem Disaster Mitigation Agency head Ida Ketut Arimbawa.