Red aviation alert because of Mount Agung eruption

According to CNN, the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency estimates the cloud was at least 4,000 meters (13,120 feet) tall, though the Australian Bureau of Meteorology later estimated a height of 7,600 meters (2,9430 feet).

However, he said some airlines made a decision to cancel flights between Bali and Australia following the latest volcanic activity.

Hengki Heriandono, acting corporate secretary of national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, earlier said the airline cancelled all of its 18 flights to and from Lombok.

An exclusion zone of 7.5km (4.5 miles) remains in place for those near the volcano, with authorities distributing masks to those in close proximity to smoke. Chances are that the eruption intensifies in the coming days, but just how much and how long it will last, and how unsafe it might become, is impossible to say at the moment. "Certainly we worry, but we have to wait and see".

Government volcanologist Gede Suantika said a red-yellow light visible in ash above the mountain was the reflection of lava in the crater.

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Bali is Indonesia's top tourist destination and its gentle Hindu culture, surf beaches and lush green interior attract about 5 million visitors a year. These pyroclastic flows travelled east and south at over 60 km/hr, wiping out several villages and causing the death of over 1000 people.

While many have since returned, more than 25,000 people remain evacuated in over 200 temporary shelters.

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.

It is home to more than 130 active volcanoes. Most left their homes in September, when authorities first warned that a major eruption was likely. The alert was lowered on October 29 after a decrease in activity.

  • Sonia Alvarado