Gunung Agung volcano (Bali, Indonesia): eruption has begun

The National Agency for Disaster Management issued a Level 3 alert, recommending no public activities within 6 to 7.5 kilometers (3.5 to 4.5 miles) from the peak.

At least four airlines - Cathay Dragon, Cathay Pacific, Garuda Indonesia, Indonesia AirAsia, Jetstar Australia, Thai Lion Air and Virgin Australia - cancelled a total of 43 flights Sunday.

GettyBalinese Hindus take part in a ceremony, where they pray near Mount Agung in hope of preventing a volcanic eruption, in Muntig village of the Kubu sub-district in Karangasem Regency on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on November 26.

A spokesman for Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency said the ash cloud was not affecting Denpasar's flight paths and stated that it was still safe to fly in and out of the airport.

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

The island's main airport is for now operating normally, but some airlines have cancelled flights.

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

Emergency authorities have handed out eerie masks to local residents and tourists trapped on the island as fears grow about an imminent major eruption.

Authorities warned anyone still in the exclusion zone around the volcano, which extends 7.5 kilometres (4.5 miles) from the crater in places, to leave.

Bali is a popular tourist destination for many in the region, with thousands traveling to the island for end of year celebrations.

Many of Indonesia's 130 volcanoes show high levels of activity.

The mountain's last major eruption occurred in 1963, killing more than 1,000 people.

The aviation alert status for Bali has been lifted from "orange" to "red" but the airport will remain open until volcanic dust impacts the airport.


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