Standing majestically on the eastern seaboard of Bali is the island’s highest mountain: Gunung Agung or Mount Agung, located in the district of Karangasem. With its summit reaching a height of 3,031 meters above sea level, the stratovolcano is the highest point on Bali which affects its surrounding climate.
The Balinese believe that Mt. Agung is the abode of the gods, and the volcano therefore is revered as sacred. It is on this mountain that the mother of all temples in Bali is located, called Pura Besakih. Although Mt. Agung inspires peace and tranquility, nonetheless, after its first eruption in 1963, it has erupted again for the second time in November 2017, sending a plume of volcanic ash and steam over 6,000 metres into the skies, forcing more than 60.000 people to flee the “danger zone.”
Hundreds of flights were cancelled and up to 120,000 travellers were stranded as huge plumes of thick, dark ash spewed high into the sky. Travel disruptions rippled around the globe as the island is one of Asia’s top destinations, attracting five million visitors a year. Cold lava flows can be expected in an area within several kilometers of the volcano. Volcanic ash caused a nuisance to farmers, burying agricultural lands and damaging crops. However, in the long term, the ash will create the world’s most productive soils.
Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency said the volcano remains at its highest alert level but most of Bali is safe for tourists.
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