Bali volcano eruption latest update: Plume rises from Mount Agung

December 10, 2017

MOUNT Agung in Bali was seen coughing out more plumes of steam and volcanic gas this morning, as the volcano continues to teeter on the brink of eruption.

 By JOE TAMBINI 

White plumes of “medium intensity” could be seen rising up to 2,000 metres above the volcano’s crater this morning, as locals braced for another major eruption.

Nearly 67,000 residents have now been evacuated from Mount Agung’s danger zone, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Bali’s Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

Agung erupted twice late last month, firing volcanic ash thousands of metres into the air on November 25 and producing a series of dangerous mudflows known as lahars.

After a week of relative calm, the volcano was photographed puffing small plumes of volcanic ash yesterday, sparking fears that a third eruption could be imminent.

Earlier this week Heather Handley, a volcanologist at Sydney’s Macquarie University, explained that Mount Agung is “clearly still in an active phase”.

“At all volcanoes we can expect fluctuations in activity,” she told Associated Press. “This does not mean that the threat is over.”

Authorities have kept the Bali volcano‘s alert at it maximum level and a state of emergency on the island has been extended until at least December 10.

Despite experts warning that another violent eruption is likely, officials are keen to stress that areas outside Agung’s 8-10km evacuation zone are still safe for tourists.

Bali volcano steaming

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho / TWITTER. Bali volcano update: Mount Agung coughed steam up to 2,000 metres into the air this morning.

Bali volcano eruption latest update: Plume rises from Mount Agung

MOUNT Agung in Bali was seen coughing out more plumes of steam and volcanic gas this morning, as the volcano continues to teeter on the brink of eruption.

White plumes of “medium intensity” could be seen rising up to 2,000 metres above the volcano’s crater this morning, as locals braced for another major eruption.

Nearly 67,000 residents have now been evacuated from Mount Agung’s danger zone, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Bali’s Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

Agung erupted twice late last month, firing volcanic ash thousands of metres into the air on November 25 and producing a series of dangerous mudflows known as lahars.

After a week of relative calm, the volcano was photographed puffing small plumes of volcanic ash yesterday, sparking fears that a third eruption could be imminent.

Earlier this week Heather Handley, a volcanologist at Sydney’s Macquarie University, explained that Mount Agung is “clearly still in an active phase”.

“At all volcanoes we can expect fluctuations in activity,” she told Associated Press. “This does not mean that the threat is over.”

Authorities have kept the Bali volcano‘s alert at it maximum level and a state of emergency on the island has been extended until at least December 10.

Despite experts warning that another violent eruption is likely, officials are keen to stress that areas outside Agung’s 8-10km evacuation zone are still safe for tourists.

Bali volcano steamingSutopo Purwo Nugroho / TWITTER

Bali volcano update: Mount Agung coughed steam up to 2,000 metres into the air this morning

Sutopo tweeted this morning that Bali “remains more beautiful than any other tourist destination”.

Earlier this week it was reported that Bali has lost about £450 million worth of tourism trade due to the uncertainty surrounding Mount Agung.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has admitted that the holiday hotspot is likely to fall one million visitors short of its yearly target.

After Agung erupted last month, airlines were forced to cancel flights to and from Bali, leaving thousands of tourists stranded on the island.

Bali volcano eruptingGETTY

Bali volcano update: Mount Agung erupted twice in November

JetStar, AirAsia, and Virgin Australia have all since confirmed that flight schedules have returned to normal, though another eruption would almost certainly see planes grounded once more.

Volcanic eruptions are almost impossible to forecast accurately, so a good way for scientists to predict whether a volcano is about to erupt is to study its past activity.

Mount Agung last erupted nearly 55 years ago when a series of violent eruptions killed more than 1,100 people.

The eruptions started with a number of small ash bursts followed by lava flows and more explosive eruptions a month later.


Posted in: Mt Agung News

Bali volcano eruption latest update: Plume rises from Mount Agung

December 10, 2017
MOUNT Agung in Bali was seen coughing out more plumes of steam and volcanic gas this morning, as the volcano continues to teeter on the brink of eruption.
The images, which were taken at about 6pm local time (10am GMT), is an ominous sign for the locals who have been forced to flee their homes to escape the threat of another eruption.

Øystein L Andersen‏, a photographer and volcano enthusiast in Bali, said the plume “looks like it contains some ash”.

Posting the images on Twitter, he said: “Agung volcano just now, seems to have just released a small eruption plume.”

He later added: “Another photo of the small plume, that was observed at Agung this afternoon. The plume looks like it contained some ash.”

 

Bali volcano erupting

Øystein L Andersen / TWITTER

Bali volcano update: Mount Agung sent an ash plume into the sky earlier today

More than 62,000 locals have been evacuated from their homes inside Mount Agung’s evacuation zone following two eruptions late last month.

Agung blasted volcanic ash thousands of metres into the air on November 25 and has been producing dangerous mudflows known as lahars ever since.

Activity within the Bali volcano subsided last week, though experts warned that another more violent eruption is likely.

Heather Handley, a volcanologist at Sydney’s Macquarie University, explained earlier this week that Mount Agung is “clearly still in an active phase”.

Bali volcano update: Mount Agung erupting

Øystein L Andersen / TWITTER

Bali volcano news: Mount Agung has been erupting since late last month

“At all volcanoes we can expect fluctuations in activity,” she told Associated Press. “This does not mean that the threat is over.”

The plume looks like it contained some ash

Øystein L Andersen, Photographer in Bali

Bali officials have kept Mount Agung’s volcano alert at it maximum level and a state of emergency on the island has been extended until at least December 10.

These latest images will raise concerns that a third eruption could be imminent.

Volcanic eruptions are almost impossible to forecast accurately, so a good way for scientists to predict whether a volcano is about to erupt is to study its past activity.

Mount Agung last erupted nearly 55 years ago when a series of violent eruptions killed more than 1,100 people.

The eruptions started with a number of small ash bursts followed by lava flows and more explosive eruptions a month later.

Agung produced a series of deadly pyroclastic flows in 1963 and there are now fears that history could be about to repeat itself.

Nengah Tresni, who was 12 when Agung last exploded, told AP: “I’m sure there will be a big eruption. It is just a matter of time.”

Bali volcano erupting

Øystein L Andersen / TWITTER

Bali volcano update: Ash was seen rising about Mount Agung on Wednesday

She added: “In the old eruption many people did not expect it to be big because there were small eruptions for a long time and villagers just went to the temple to pray.”

While monitoring technologies have improved exponentially since the previous eruption, authorities are still struggling to persuade locals that they need to evacuate.

There are still tens of thousands of residents living in Agung’s danger zone who are adamant that they should stay in their villages and put their fate in the hands of the gods.


Posted in: Mt Agung News

Hello everyone from a very sad Bali.

December 1, 2017

Hello everyone from a very sad Bali. I have been here for 21 years and never have experienced the emotional pain like this before. Yes we had the bombs of 2002, ( the most tragic disaster ) and the flooding and landslides and all other things in between but this beats the lot.  With previous disasters we could do so much to help…but this time it is an unknown.  Having admired the beautiful countryside of Bali for so many years…how the local people reap their crops, the hard way, cutting rice by hand then threshing it, again by hand….to plowing the fields with yoked buffalo, using terraced land ( put in a hundred or more years ago by their ancestors ) as a water catchment for their crops. Every inch of those hillsides have been providing food for their families. Even the ducks enjoy it too.  It was awe inspiring to say the least.

Now we see cold lava flows flooding the villages and the rivers run black. Mount Agungs angry red glow can be seen for miles, and her rumblings felt across this beautiful island. The air is tainted with an acrid smoke and ash falls from the once blue skies onto food crops, houses and livestock. Speaking of livestock….the local people who are lucky enough to own a cow or two, treat them as one of the family…cutting bales of grass every day to feed them and bathing them in the crystal clear rivers. Those cows are the families investment, the same as we would put money in the bank…they are their future, albeit a meager one. A single cow here is worth over a thousand dollars. Many of them now have been sold for half their value just to “rescue” them from a roasting from hot lava. It’s a painful thought not just for the cows, but for the people. Cows here are a status symbol, if you have a cow…you are almost rich. Pigs also have more worth than just a meat meal…they are used for special ceremonies like Galungan and others.

The family homes are simple compared to Western homes….often made of hand made bricks ( another strenuous task ) with a thatched roof. Their ancestors built them with love so many years ago. Now they are threatened to be swallowed by Agungs magma. There are no insurance policies to fall back on with an idea of rebuilding…insurance here is beyond the reach of most people. Babies have been born in the homes and people have died in them for generations…now gone.

The evacuation camps, are just a temporary shelter, but how long is temporary we ask ourselves. Some people have been there for months already. They have few mattresses and have never owned a blanket. The Government have supplied some of these necessities together with rice and other staple foods. But, nobody brings the forest herbs and spices to flavor their food. They can’t get meat or fish as the local markets have largely come to an end and mostly it is too far away to buy supplies. Many more fortunate local people have helped in so many ways, sharing and caring beyond all expectations. So many NGO’s are working round the clock to find what is needed to make life more comfortable in the camps, but many of us are “working blind” as it’s not familiar ground for us. We are all doing our absolute best with whatever we can find. This will last for a very long time, so people may forget that we still need them to help us. Please we ask you all……do not forget even though you may think everything is being taken care of….how do you care for 150.000 evacuees for a long time, with the help of those who care. This is the biggest sharing trip of all time….give what you can please. Details for making a donation are on our web site front page at Balicrisiscare.org..even $5 will but two fish or a chicken…remember the feeding of the five thousand told to us when we were kids….we need that thought now.  With that I will leave you to think about how lucky you are and give a little to bring a smile of a sad face.  Gloria


Posted in: Mt Agung News

Mount Agung: Bali volcano activity prompts ‘red warning’

November 27, 2017

Airlines have been issued a “red warning” about the danger of volcanic ash in the skies close to Bali after Mount Agung emitted a thick plume of smoke reaching 4,000m (13,100 feet).

It is the second major emission from the Indonesian island volcano this week, and flights have been disrupted.

The red warning means an eruption is forecast to be imminent, with significant emission of ash likely.

Authorities have begun distributing masks in some areas as ash falls.

Bali is a major tourist destination, although the main resorts of Kuta and Seminyak are about 70km (43 miles) from the volcano.

The island’s main airport is for now operating normally, but some airlines have cancelled flights. Volcanic ash can damage plane engines.

Travellers to and from the region are being urged to contact their airline or travel agent to find out the status of their flight.

A woman uses an umbrella as she walks through ash from Mount Agung volcano in Bebandem Village, Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia on Sunday. Photo supplied by Antara FotoImage copyright REUTERS
Ash from the eruption coated roads, cars and buildings near the volcano in the north-east of Bali and emergency officials said hundreds of thousands of masks had been distributed

The ash cloud is said to be moving eastward from Bali towards the island of Lombok, and the main international airport there has been closed entirely.

The information director of Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency tweeted that volcanic ash rain had fallen on the Lombok city of Mataram.

“Tourism in Bali is still safe, except in the danger (zone) around Mount Agung,” the agency said in a statement.

It told people within a 7.5km exclusion zone to “immediately evacuate” in an “orderly and calm manner”.

Magma – molten rock – has now been detected close to the volcano’s surface, said officials and volcanologists.

Passengers wait for flight information at Ngurah Rai airport in Bali ANTARA FOTO/WIRA SURYANTALA VIA REUTERS
Passengers waiting at Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport on Saturday

About 25,000 people are thought to still be in temporary shelters after more than 140,000 people fled earlier this year. Increased volcanic activity had prompted fears a major eruption was imminent.

Most of the islanders outside the immediate exclusion zone were ordered to return home at the end of September, and the mountain has been intermittently rumbling since.

Media captionEvacuees from near Mount Agung brought their birds, chickens and dogs with them in September

According to official estimates, the holiday island lost at least $110m (£83m) in tourism and productivity during the major evacuation.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

It is home to more than 130 active volcanoes. The last time Mount Agung erupted, in 1963, more than 1,000 people died.


Posted in: Mt Agung News

Urgent request.

November 27, 2017

Dear All..I have been trying everywhere to find plastic shower curtains to hang up on evacuation center “walls” where there are no walls….If anyone has old ones they don’t need could they please try to post them to us…with the plastic rings please. They can actually be bought in “dollar stores” all over Australia. The villagers need them to keep rain off them while they wait for more suitable camps to be available.It is cold and very wet in some camps..like in the mountains of Bedugul in mid Bali. Evacuees have been camping there for weeks and from what I could see, they need to keep the weather off them. I have bought blankets and rain jackets but please can well wishers send plastic shower curtains…it would help so much. The problem is about the post..I’m not sure how that is going as there are no planes coming in at present….but please can you try….Address is  Mama Gloria Crisis Care Clinic, Dusun Asah, Kaliasem, Lovina Bali Indonesia.81152…I have tried to buy “on line” but they are far too expensive for us…..cheap ones would be good please. We are working hard to help out but the pelting rain is difficult to deal with as it brings the ash down with it..Tomorrow I will try to source umbrellas….they should help with the dirty ash that is covering everything…Please help us to help these sad and scared villagers….


Posted in: Mt Agung News

Ash Fills The Sky As Bali’s Mount Agung Erupts

November 27, 2017

Ash pours from Mount Agung during an eruption on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on Sunday.

Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty Images

Clouds of ash filled the air around Bali’s Mount Agung after the volcano erupted on Saturday and multiple times on Sunday.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority said dark gray clouds reached heights of more than 13,000 feet in the air around the volcano, located in the east of the Indonesian island.

“Bali is safe just keep away from disaster prone areas,” the agency wrote on Twitter.

The government agency warned people within about 4 miles of the volcano to leave. It said ash as thick as half a centimeter was reported in several nearby villages, The Associated Press says, while soldiers and police handed out masks.

“The activity of Mount Agung has entered the magmatic eruption phase, it is still spewing ash at the moment, but we need to monitor and be cautious over the possibility of a strong, explosive eruption,” volconologist Gede Suantika told Reuters. Suantika said the volcano could continue releasing ash for a month but he did not expect a major eruption, according to the AP.

Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation issued their highest “red” flight warning, as several flights were canceled on Saturday.

On Sunday, airport authorities told the AP that flights in the area were back to normal.

Mount Agung, which reaches nearly 10,000 feet into the sky and is the highest point in Bali, erupted on Tuesday as well.

About 1,100 people died in the volcano’s last major eruption in 1963. In September,more than 140,000 people evacuated following shallow volcanic earthquakes, the wire service says, before the alert was lowered at the end of October. Indonesia has more than 120 active volcanoes.

Bali is a popular destination for tourists, with close to 5 million visitors in 2016, according to the tourism office.


Posted in: Mt Agung News

Tens of thousands stranded as Bali volcano closes airport

November 27, 2017

KARANGASEM, Indonesia (AP) — Authorities ordered a mass evacuation of people Monday from an expanded danger zone around an erupting volcano on Bali that has forced the Indonesian island’s international airport to close, stranding tens of thousands of travelers.

Mount Agung has been hurling clouds of white and dark gray ash about 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) into the atmosphere since the weekend. A mudflow of volcanic debris and water known as a lahar was filmed moving down the volcano’s slopes.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency raised the alert to the highest level early Monday and expanded the danger zone to 10 kilometers (6 miles) in places from the previous maximum of 7.5 kilometers. It said in a statement that a larger eruption is possible.

Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news conference in Jakarta that the extension of the danger zone affects 22 villages and about 90,000 to 100,000 people. He said about 40,000 people have evacuated but others have not left because they feel safe or don’t want to abandon their livestock.

“Authorities will comb the area to persuade them,” he said. “If needed we will forcibly evacuate them.” About 25,000 people were already living in evacuation centers after an increase in tremors from the mountain in September sparked an evacuation.

Bali’s airport was closed early Monday after ash reached its airspace. Flight information boards showed rows of cancelations as tourists arrived at the busy airport expecting to catch flights home.

Airport spokesman Air Ahsanurrohim said 445 flights were canceled, stranding about 59,000 travelers. The closure is in effect until Tuesday morning though officials said the situation will be reviewed every six hours.

Bali is Indonesia’s top tourist destination, with its gentle Hindu culture, surf beaches and lush green interior attracting about 5 million visitors a year.

Some flights to and from Bali were canceled on Saturday and Sunday but most had continued to operate normally as the towering ash clouds were moving east toward the neighboring island of Lombok.

“We now have to find a hotel and spend more of our money that they’re not going to cover us for when we get home unfortunately,” said Canadian tourist Brandon Olsen who was stranded at Bali’s airport with his girlfriend.

Indonesia’s Directorate General of Land Transportation said 100 buses are being deployed to Bali’s international airport and to ferry terminals to help travelers stranded by the eruption of Mount Agung.

The agency’s chief, Budi, said major ferry crossing points have been advised to prepare for a surge in passengers and vehicles. Stranded tourists could leave Bali by taking a ferry to neighboring Java and then travel by land to the nearest airports.

Geological agency head, Kasbani, who goes by one name, said the alert level was raised because the volcano has shifted from steam-based eruptions to magmatic eruptions. He told Indonesian television on Monday morning that he did not expect a big eruption but added “we have to stay alert and anticipate.”

The volcano’s last major eruption in 1963 killed about 1,100 people.

Ash has settled on villages and resorts around the volcano and soldiers and police distributed masks on the weekend.

In Karangasem district that surrounds the volcano, tourists stopped to watch the towering plumes of ash as children made their made to school.

Indonesia sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” and has more than 120 active volcanoes.

Mount Agung’s alert status was raised to the highest level in September following a dramatic increase in tremors from the volcano, which doubled the exclusion zone around the crater and prompted more than 140,000 people to leave the area. The alert was lowered on Oct. 29 after a decrease in activity but about 25,000 people remained in evacuation centers.


Posted in: Mt Agung News

Bali volcano UPDATE: Thousands flee as Mount Agung enters ‘eruptive’ period

November 24, 2017

Residents caught in Mount Agung’s danger zone have been fleeing in their thousands to the safer regions of the tourist hotspot.

Hastily built refugee shelters sprung up in the shadow of the volcano today, with mother and children seeking refuge.

Yesterday health and safety volunteers were seen tirelessly handing out ash masks in case Bali’s tallest volcano erupts for the first time in 50 years.

Mount Agung reared its ugly head this week on Tuesday, when it spewed a thick plume of smoke over the island.

Joachim Gottsmann, professor of volcanology at Bristol University, told Express.co.uk: “From what I have seen in video coverage yesterday is that a white plume was visible.

“This indicates that the eruption was likely not magmatic. Many eruptions at volcanoes such as Agung start with what is called phreatic activity.

“Often but not always magmatic eruptions ensue after a period of phreatic activity.”

Phreatic eruptions occur when underground water passes over hot lava or magma, resulting in a ticking time bomb of dangerous gases and steam.

Bali volcano update: refugee shelter

AFP/GETTY

Professor Gottsmann said it not uncommon for magmatic eruptions to follow, and Agung’s increased activity this month could lead too further eruptions within weeks or months.

He said: “Magmatic means that molten rock is either erupted explosively with a dark eruption cloud or effusively in the form of a lava flow.

“All these eruptive activities can occur within short periods of time. An eruptive period may hence have several discreet eruptions.”

A sense of urgency was felt on the island yesterday – demonstrated in a powerful photo of a volunteer fitting a face mask on a little boy in Rendang district.

Elsewhere volunteers were seen walking through a traditional marketplace, handing out ash masks to vulnerable locals.


Posted in: Mt Agung News

Travel insurers impose volcano cover bans after Mount Agung eruption in Bali

November 22, 2017
  • Jewel Topsfield & Amilia Rose

Bali: Some travel insurers are refusing to provide cover for any volcano-related travel disruptions if insurance policies are taken out after Mount Agung in Bali erupted on Tuesday, saying it would no longer be an “unforseen event”.

Bali’s international Airport has not been affected by the minor eruption of steam and ash from the volcano, which is about 75 kilometres away, and Virgin Australia and Jetstar both said their flights to and from Bali were operating as normal.

The Indonesian government has maintained the current volcano warning alert, a level three issued on October 29.

However at least two travel insurers – Travel Insurance Direct and 1Cover Travel Insurance – have issued cover cut-offs for any claims that might arise from the volcano once the eruption became a “known event”

The Australian Government has updated its Smartraveller advice saying there is the potential for ash fall to disrupt flights if volcanic activity escalates.

“Individual airlines make their own decisions about flight operations,” it says. “Contact your airline or tour operator directly for up-to-date information.”

Travel Insurance Direct said it was now issuing a cover cut-off for claims arising from “this known event”.

“For policies purchased after 8:05pm (AEDT) on Tuesday 21 November 2017, cover is not available for claims arising from any volcanic activity, including any new ash cloud events, as such events are no longer unforeseen,” it says on its website.

Gede Epo from Nawa Kerti village five kilometres from Mount Agung summit shows ash he picked from the roof.Gede Epo from Nawa Kerti village five kilometres from Mount Agung summit shows ash he picked from the roof. Photo: Amilia Rosa

Travel Insurance Direct said cover was available for policies purchased before this when there was no option but to change travel plans.

“Where your trip has not yet begun, cover is available for the lesser of rearrangement or cancellation costs.”

1Cover Travel Insurance said Mount Agung was excluded from travel insurance policies purchased after midday (AEST) on November 22.

“For policies purchased after midday (AEST) on 22 November 2017 cover is not available for claims arising from any volcanic activity, including travel service disruptions due to ash cloud, as such events were not considered unforeseen at the time of purchase,” it said on its website.

Travel insurance expert Bessie Hassan said there may be confusion around travel insurance as cover restrictions had been previously imposed, but were then lifted by a few brands.

The volcano alert level for Mount Agung – Bali’s largest and most sacred mountain – was downgraded to three on October 29 after 38 days on the highest possible level.

“Some insurers removed their cover bans between 30th October and 6th November so anyone who has taken out a policy since then should be eligible for cover,” said Ms Hassan, a travel insurance expert at finder.com.au.

“But other insurers haven’t lifted their restrictions at all so cover for the volcano likely won’t be provided if the policy was taken out within the last month or so.”

Tuesday’s “phreatic eruption” sent a dark grey plume up to one kilometre into the sky just after 5pm local time.

A phreatic eruption is a steam-driven explosion that occurs when water beneath the ground or on the surface is heated by magma (molten rock), lava, hot rocks or new volcanic deposits.

The volcano stopped emitting ash which coated leaves in Pidpid village in Abang subdistrict about six kilometres from Mount Agung at about 9pm Tuesday night.

“We were on alert all night until morning,” said volcanologist Gede Suantika from the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation. “We thought it would continue until this morning, but it didn’t. It’s just white steam now.”

Mr Gede said the alert status remained at three. The existing danger zone within a radius of between 7.5 kilometres around the summit also remained unchanged.

graphic

“We thought last night the plume would get higher and higher but that didn’t happen.”

Mr Gede said the amplitude of tremors was slowing down Wednesday morning.

“It could be that this is just a lonely blast that was caused by water seeping into the hot rocks at the summit, which doesn’t herald any additional eruptions,” volcanologist Erik Klemetti wrote in his science blog Rocky Planet.

“However many volcanoes start periods of more eruptions that continue new (juvenile) magma with phreatic blasts as the upper parts of the volcano system heats up.”

Mount Agung last erupted in 1963. More than 1500 people were killed and 1700 houses destroyed. Eruptions lasted for a year.

Mount Agung is one of nearly 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, an archipelago vulnerable to seismic upheaval because of its location on the “Ring of Fire”, a horse-shoe shaped belt of tectonic plate boundaries that fringes the Pacific basin.


Posted in: Mt Agung News

Bali volcano eruption: Flights not disrupted, airport remains open

November 22, 2017

THE eruption of Mount Agung volcano could spell bad news for any Australian travellers to Bali who haven’t yet taken out travel insurance.

Bali’s Denpasar airport is still open and flights in and out of Bali have not been affected since Mount Agung started spewing ash and steam in a long-awaited eruption on Tuesday night.

But should the situation worsen, Aussies who haven’t yet taken out insurance for their upcoming Bali trip may find themselves without cover for any volcano-related drama.

Some insurance companies imposed a cut-off time for eruption coverage at 8.05pm AEDT on Tuesday — precisely when the eruption started.

And that may leave in the lurch many of the 250,000 Aussies expected to visit Bali between now and the end of January.

Spikes in calls to travel insurers this morning suggest many Australians are confused about what the volcano means for their insurance — especially because this isn’t the first Bali volcano insurance cut-off since September.

Mount Agung volcano spewing smoke in Bali as it erupts. Picture: AFP/Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency

Mount Agung volcano spewing smoke in Bali as it erupts. Picture: AFP/Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation AgencySource:AFP

 

SORRY, WHAT?

Back in September, when everyone thought Mount Agung would erupt at any minute, Australian insurance companies imposed deadlines for Bali insurance policies.

Travellers who took out insurance before the deadline would be covered for volcano-related claims, such as delayed flights due to the ash cloud or emergency accommodation.

But those who missed out on the deadline would not be covered for the volcano, because at that point, an eruption was no longer considered an unforeseen event.

In October, when the alert status for the volcano was downgraded to the second-highest level, some insurers lifted their deadline and went back to normal. Others kept the deadline.

Now that the eruption has happened, some insurers who lifted their deadline have imposed a new one.

Bessie Hassan, travel insurance expert for finder.com.au, said it was a confusing situation.

“Some insurers have retained the ban they imposed a few weeks ago and that will have prohibited travellers from taking out insurance to Bali,” she told news.com.au.

Authorities on Bali have been waiting for Mount Agung to erupt for months. Picture: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Authorities on Bali have been waiting for Mount Agung to erupt for months. Picture: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“However, other insurers have lifted their bans within the last fortnight so anyone who took out a policy within that period from those brands should be eligible to claim.”

Ms Hassan said insurers who lifted the cut-off last month were likely to review that in light of Tuesday’s eruption.

“Remember that not all insurers have lifted their restrictions so contact them directly to confirm whether you’ll be eligible to claim,” she said.

“Those confused should check directly with their insurer to ensure that cover was taken out within dates that weren’t restricted.”

finder.com.au is updating a list of where insurance companies stand on this issue. But it’s best to just call your insurer directly if you’re unsure.

YOU SHOULD STILL BUY INSURANCE ANYWAY

Travel Insurance Direct’s travel expert Phil Sylvester said there had been a surge in calls and email inquiries on Wednesday morning following news of the volcano’s eruption.

Travel Insurance Direct is one of the companies that imposed a 8.05pm deadline last night.

“If a traveller purchased a Travel Insurance Direct policy prior to that cut-off they would still be covered for cancellation and delay expenses. So that means if the airport gets closed and they get stranded in Bali for a few extra nights, reasonable accommodation and meals expenses are claimable,” Mr Sylvester told news.com.au.

The volcano sent smoke as high as 800 metres above its summit, as it stirred to life again after more than 140,000 people fled homes around the crater last month. Picture: AFP/Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency

The volcano sent smoke as high as 800 metres above its summit, as it stirred to life again after more than 140,000 people fled homes around the crater last month. Picture: AFP/Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation AgencySource:AFP

“Similarly, if it means they can no longer reach Bali, then lost deposits and other expenses incurred are claimable.”

But if you missed out on the 8.05pm deadline, you should still take our insurance for your Bali trip, he said.

“This doesn’t mean your entire policy is void,” Mr Sylvester said.

“A policy bought after this cut-off date will still cover you for non-volcano medical costs, theft or loss of belongings, et cetera.

“You could still get hit crossing the road in Bali and need medical treatment, so it is still very important to take out travel insurance coverage.”

Mr Sylvester added if a traveller was stranded in Bali, they should keep their expectations for return flights and accommodation reasonable.

“You do not have the right to find yourself a first class seat to get home — even if it’s the only one available — and claim that from us,” he said.

“At best we’d only pay the equivalent of an economy fare, leaving you out of pocket substantially. So if you are stranded and really desperate to get home, and have found a flight, call us first to get clarification about your cover.

“In the same vein, if you need to find accommodation for extra nights, don’t book yourself into the presidential suite.”


Posted in: Mt Agung News

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