Bali's Mount Agung volcano erupts for second time in a week

Airlines have been issued a "red warning" about the danger of volcanic ash choking and shutting down plane engines as another eruption looks imminent.

Authorities evacuated tens of thousands of people from 224 points on the Indonesian island of Bali this weekend after the eruption of Mount Agung, which spewed enormous clouds of potentially life-threatening ash into the atmosphere, CNN reported.

However, Mount Agung's current eruption is still not considered risky.

Up to 7,000 air passengers are stranded on the island at the main Bali airport of Ngurah Rai, while Indonesia's Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation raised its aviation alert status from orange to its highest possible red status, signifying extreme hazards to aircraft. Virgin and Dutch airline KLM are also reported to have cancelled flights.

Mount Agung's alert status was raised to the highest in September following a dramatic increase in tremors from the volcano, which doubled the exclusion zone around the crater and prompted more than 140,000 people to leave the area.

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On Saturday, four airlines made a decision to ground at least 16 of their flights because of the increasing activity of the volcano in the afternoon.

Evacuation zones, reaching up to 7.5 kilometers from the crater, have been put into place, and about 24,000 residents have been forced to temporary shelters.

"Mount Agung has erupted 18 times and we are used to such a condition", he said, while still urging people to prepare backpacks containing masks, flashlights, jackets and glasses. About 25,000 people have been prevented from returning to their homes around the volcano since September when activity began for the first time since a 1963 eruption killed about 1,100 people.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.


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