S'poreans advised to defer travel to affected areas

Singaporeans should defer non-essential travel to areas of Bali affected by the eruption of Mount Agung, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said yesterday.

MFA said in its travel advisory that Singaporeans now in Bali should avoid Mount Agung and its vicinity.

"In recent months, Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency has been warning residents and tourists to stay away from an exclusion zone of 7.5km around the crater on Bali," the ministry said.

It also advised Singaporeans there to monitor local news closely and heed the instructions of the Indonesian authorities.

Mount Agung erupted on Tuesday, three months after it first started rumbling. Thousands of residents had only recently been allowed to return to their homes after an evacuation in August.

The volcano, which is located 75km from the resort hub of Kuta, last erupted in 1963, killing nearly 1,600 people.

MFA said: "Volcanic eruptions could result in ash clouds that could severely disrupt air travel, leading to closures of affected airports. Ash fall could also affect outdoor activities."

 

An Indonesian official, however, told Bloomberg that the island remains largely safe, with only a radius of 6km to 7.5km around the crater considered dangerous.

IMPACT ON AIR TRAVEL

Volcanic eruptions could result in ash clouds that could severely disrupt air travel, leading to closures of affected airports. Ash fall could also affect outdoor activities.

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

"So, the condition is safe. Flights are also safe," said Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, who described the Singapore advisory as "excessive".

Travellers from Singapore have thus far decided to proceed with their plans.

A spokesman for travel agency CTC Travel said the free and easy tours to Bali the company offers have not been affected so far.

Mr Daniel Kent, 23, an admissions officer at Yale-NUS College, left for Bali yesterday morning. While he was "somewhat worried" about the eruption, he went ahead with his travel plans as he is visiting the towns of Ubud and Seminyak, which are beyond the exclusion zone.

"I went ahead because they are both out of the exclusion zone - I also didn't want to lose my deposits, and I have already taken the leave," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2017, with the headline 'S'poreans advised to defer travel to affected areas'. Print Edition | Subscribe