KARANGASEM, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian authorities ordered 100,000 people to flee Monday from an erupting volcano on Bali that forced the island’s international airport to close, stranding large numbers of travelers.
Mount Agung has been hurling clouds of white and dark gray ash about 10,000 feet into the atmosphere since the weekend, and lava is welling up in the crater, sometimes reflected as a reddish-yellow glow in the ash plumes. Its explosions can be heard 7 miles away.
Videos released by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency showed a mudflow of volcanic debris and water known as a lahar moving down the volcano’s slopes. It said lahars could increase because it is rainy season and warned people to stay away from rivers.
The agency raised the volcano’s alert to the highest level early Monday and expanded the danger zone to 6 miles. It said a larger eruption is possible.
The volcano’s last major eruption in 1963 killed about 1,100 people.
Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news conference in Jakarta that the extension of the danger zone affects 22 villages and about 90,000 to 100,000 people. He said about 40,000 people have evacuated but others have not left because they feel safe or don’t want to abandon their livestock.
“Authorities will comb the area to persuade them,” he said. “If needed we will forcibly evacuate them.” About 25,000 people were already living in evacuation centers after an increase in tremors from the mountain in September sparked an evacuation.
Lava rising in the crater “will certainly spill over to the slopes,” Sutopo said.