The alert status of Indonesia's Mount Agung has been upgraded from third to the fourth level on Monday morning (27 November) and the gateway of Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport has been closed temporarily due to the massive volcanic ash, which has spread almost 3,000 meters into the atmosphere since the weekend. Airport Authorities have already canceled 445 flights, which has affected around 50,000 passengers.
"We have conducted a meeting this morning and decided to suspend the airport's operation for safety reasons," said the head of the airport authority for Bali and East Nusa Tenggara Herson as quoted by The Jakarta Post.
"We have received reports from pilots that volcanic ash has reached the area above the airport. We conducted an observation and found that that is true, so we decided to close the airport," he further added.
The airport authority said that they will review the situation every six hours now. Kasbani, the Geological agency head said that they have increased the alert level since the volcano shifted from steam-based eruptions to magmatic eruptions.
Local residents are advised to stay out of rivers as the cold lava flow, known as lahar, has been moving down. The National disaster agency said that lahars could increase further because of the rainy season.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman of the disaster agency said in a tweet, "Lahar floods have already occurred in several places on the slopes."
According to recent reports, the disaster agency has also said that about 100,000 people will be evacuated from the expanded danger zone around the volcano.