Airlines warned of danger from Bali volcano
Indonesia ordered an evacuation around Bali's Mount Agung yesterday as the volcano's eruptions sent a plume of volcanic ash and steam 6km into the skies above the popular holiday island.
Ash covered roads, cars and buildings near the volcano, while scores of flights were cancelled as authorities warned airlines of the danger of flying near the area.
Bali, famous for its surf, beaches and temples, attracted nearly five million visitors last year but business has slumped in areas around the volcano since September when Agung's volcanic tremors began to increase.
When it last erupted in 1963, it killed more than 1,000 people and razed several villages.
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology's Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin issued maps showing an ash cloud heading south-east over the neighbouring island of Lombok, away from Bali's capital, Denpasar, where the main international airport is located.
Indonesia's disaster agency has said Bali is "still safe" for tourists except for a 7.5km zone around Mount Agung.
"Despite the string of eruptions, there has not been an increase in volcanic activity," it said in a statement, noting that the emergency status for Agung remains at level 3, one below the highest.
A number of airlines, including Virgin Australia and AirAsia, have cancelled flights to Bali.