Thousands of residents of Bali have been ordered to evacuate and the local airport has been shut down as Mount Agung, a massive active volcano, threatens to explode on the Indonesian resort island, bringing a possible national disaster and hundreds or thousands of casualties.
The first signs of the volcano’s imminent eruption appeared last Tuesday when it began spewing volcanic ash. On Saturday, thick clouds of ash began shooting nearly 10,000 feet into the air above the mouth of the volcano in three smaller eruptions. Liquid lava has begun welling up in the volcano’s crater, and explosions from the smoking giant can be heard from over seven miles away.
Mount #Agung, #Bali on Sunday morning 26 November 2017. Photo: StIRRRD UGM team. #volcano #eruption #ash #DRR pic.twitter.com/rclUluGuVW
— StIRRRD (@StIRRRD) November 26, 2017
Experts have confirmed that Mount Agung is shifting into the “magmatic” phase in which danger of eruption is heightened.
Lahars, potentially deadly mudflows of volcanic debris and water, have begun flowing down the volcano’s slopes, adding yet another element of danger as authorities warn they could cause flooding in local rivers.
Ini adalah permulaan dari banjir lahar hujan. Material piroklastik erupsi Gunung Agung akan terus bertambah. Hujan akan meningkat selama musim penghujan. Potensi banjir lahan hujan akan meningkat. Jangan melakukan aktivitas di sungai. #BaliTetapAman #bali #BudayaSadarBencana pic.twitter.com/goxlyvFwk9
— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB) November 27, 2017
On Monday, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency raised Mount Agung’s alert to its highest level and expanded the “danger zone” around the roiling peak to six miles. The danger zone now encompasses some 22 villages and about 100,000 people.
So far, about 40,000 people have evacuated, and authorities plan to search the area for holdouts who don’t want to abandon their property or livestock.
“We ask people in the danger zone to evacuate immediately because there’s a potential for a bigger eruption,” Agency Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told media in Jakarta. He said that the growing pool of lava in the crater “will certainly spill over to the slopes”, endangering anyone nearby.
In the Bible, volcanoes and seismic activity are connected with God’s anger, especially in the context of the End of Days.
Therefore I will make the heavens to tremble, and the earth shall be shaken out of her place, for the wrath of Hashem of hosts, and for the day of His fierce anger. Isaiah 13:13
Mount Agung last erupted over half a century ago in 1963, killing over 1,700 people. After over 50 years of quiet, the volcano awakened in September, rumbling back to life and causing a major panic on the island as the alert was raised to its highest level. Authorities evacuated about 140,000 people from the exclusion zone, extended to 12 miles.
#MountAgung volcano in #Bali continues its eruption with a column of ash that is up to four km high. Flight warnings have been raised to red, Xinhua reports, citing national disaster management agency pic.twitter.com/lae7K8lWY1
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) November 26, 2017
In October, the volcano’s activity reduced and many people returned to their homes as the alert was lowered – only to be raised again a month later.
Bali’s main airport was closed on Monday, stranding about 59,000 passengers on the island as flights were suspended due to the volcanic ash in the air.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” basin, which boasts 452 volcanoes and is the most seismically active region in the world. About 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire. Indonesia itself is home to over 120 active volcanoes.