For more than a week, the island of Bali has been preparing for the eruption of Mount Agung.
Since the volcano eruption warning was raised to a level 4 alert on September 22 — the highest level possible — more than 140,000 residents have fled.
While the magnitude of the volcanic earthquakes has decreased, experts say the threat of an eruption is still very much relevant. There is still a great deal of seismic activity, though the events vary.
“Agung is still showing high numbers of seismicity, and yesterday we had 794 volcanic earthquakes,” seismologist Devy Kamil Syahbana said in a statement on Sunday.
Syahbana noted that while the severity of the quakes may have dropped, the number of shallow tremors had risen.
Dr. Janine Krippner, a volcanologist based in Pittsburgh, agreed, telling The West Australian that “the potential for an eruption is still high.”
At this time, though it may be impossible to predict if (or, more likely, when) the Bali volcano will erupt, travelers should still respect the severity of the situation.
The popular hiking destination has been entirely closed, as part of an exclusion zone 7.5 miles wide around the summit. When the 9,944-foot volcano erupted in 1963, more than 1,000 people lost their lives.
Earlier in the week, the Express reported, Bali’s governor declared an official state of emergency, which will remain in effect until October 12.
Tips for Travelers Heading to Bali
In an attempt to curb the dissemination of misinformation, a Bali Tourism Hospitality Task Force has been established to help handle tourism-related services. Queries should be directed to the Task Force, which will also be responsible for providing updates to travelers and expats.
ABC Australia reported that, assuming travel insurance was purchased in advance of September 15 (when the potential eruption became a well-publicized matter) vacationers in Bali will be protected against any volcanic eruption.
Insurance will not, however, cover fees and costs incurred by travelers who simply want to change plans.
While the eruption of Mount Agung could be quite serious, many popular tourist spots on the island — including Ubud and Seminyak — are a safe distance away from the volcano.
The country has already devised a comprehensive contingency plan for air traffic in the event of an eruption.
Krippner urged travelers to pack long-sleeved shirts and pants, a mask, and protective goggles, in the event that there’s dangerous, widespread ash fall and toxic gases from an eruption.