Cyclone kills 19, most under landslide, on Indonesia's Java Island
JAKARTA – Reuters
Video footage showed rivers overflowing and roads and villages submerged in brown water after the storm struck on Nov. 28.
“Nineteen people have died, thousands of homes have been flooded and other damage has been caused,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the Disaster Mitigation Agency, said on Twitter.
Two nearby airports were briefly closed but had since reopened. Flights around Indonesia have been disrupted due to the eruption of a volcano on the neighbouring holiday island of Bali to the east.
Meanwhile, Bali’s international airport was expected to be re-opened on Nov. 29 afternoon after a nearly three-day shutdown, Indonesian airport authorities said, as ash from a rumbling volcano that looms over the island paradise shifted direction.
The eagerly awaited decision opens up a window of hope for some of more than 120,000 tourists stranded after a spike in activity at Mount Agung grounded hundreds of flights since Nov. 27.
But airport officials cautioned that the only direct international gateway to the tropical island could be shuttered again if winds change direction and towering columns of smoke and ash pose a risk to flights.
“The airspace will be re-opened” at 3:00 pm local time (0700 GMT), Bali Ngurah Rai airport spokesman Arie Ahsanurrohim told AFP.
But “we are going to constantly monitor the situation on the ground,” he added.
Ash is dangerous for planes as it makes runways slippery and can be sucked into their engines.
Mount Agung could produce a major eruption at any moment, officials have warned.
Tens of thousands have already fled their homes around the volcano -- which last erupted in 1963, killing around 1,600 people -- but as many as 100,000 will likely be forced to leave, disaster agency officials have said.
Experts said Agung’s recent activity matches the build-up to the earlier disaster, which ejected enough debris -- about a billion tonnes -- to lower global average temperatures by around 0.3 degrees Celsius for roughly a year.