Authorities in Indonesia have warned tourists to avoid the area around Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia amid fears of a volcano eruption.
According to the news.com.au (via the Associated Press), officials have at least doubled the size of the restricted zone surrounding Mount Agung, raising its alert level for the second time in less than a week.
Situated about 72km from Kuta, Mount Agung is a popular tourist haunt and destination for hiking.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency set up a no-go zone within 6km from the crater and up to 7.5km away to the north, southeast, and south-southwest. Tourists and residents were told to avoid these areas.
All community activities in the area have been restricted from the exclusion zone while residents to told to prepare for evacuation.
Phil Sylvester from Travel Insurance Direct was quoted as saying that tourists should take the warnings of Indonesian authorities seriously.
“They have issued an alert about the possibility of a new eruption and warned people to stay away — villagers, farmers as well as tourists who hike to the top. It’s a popular tourist destination,” he said.
“Clearly they believe an eruption could be imminent.”
— Bali Daring (@bali_daring) September 19, 2017
Sylvester said last year’s eruption of Mt Rinjani on the island of Lombok, which left 1,000 people stranded on the mountain when it erupted despite warnings to stay away, should serve as a lesson.
“The ash cloud caused the closure of Denpasar airport for weeks at a time and thousands of people were stranded, either unable to come home or unable to get to their holiday.
“School holidays start next week, Bali is going to be chockers full.”
Sylvester said the company is receiving calls on whether it was still possible to take up insurance before their trips to Bali.
“Here’s the beauty of it – no, it’s not,” he said.
“The thing hasn’t erupted yet. There is no ash cloud. This is not in insurance terms ‘an event’ — not yet anyway.
“So yes you can buy travel insurance today and be covered if it goes off tomorrow or next week.”