Q&A: Rumbling Bali volcano looms over tourist paradise

Mount Agung on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali is threatening to erupt after more than half a century of quiet. Here’s what you need to know.

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IS BALI STILL SAFE FOR TOURISTS?

Seismic activity from the volcano has escalated dramatically in the past two weeks but officials say there is no reason for tourists to panic and the island famous for its surfing, beaches and elegant Hindu culture is still safe to visit.

Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport has been operating normally since the alert status for Mount Agung was raised to the highest level on Friday but a significant eruption would force its closure and strand thousands. Nearly 5 million tourists visited Bali last year.

Videos circulating on social media that purport to show the mountain already violently erupting are hoaxes; they show previous eruptions from other volcanoes in Indonesia.

Agung is in the north of the island about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the tourist hotspot of Kuta. People have been told to leave a 9-12 kilometer (6-8 mile) area around the crater where frequent tremors from the volcano are being felt.

Government vulcanologist Surono, who uses one name, said the feared eruption could be huge and potentially also close airports in East Java and Lombok, according to local media…

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