, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 29 – An unknown number of Kenyan are among thousands of tourists stranded in Indonesia’s Bali Island since the volcanic eruption of Mount Agung on Tuesday last week.
According to one of the Kenyans, Serah Katusya who is the MediaCom East Africa Managing Director, the closure of Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport since the eruption has only left travelers with one choice – taking a road trip to Jakarta in mainland Indonesia from where they can book flights.
“The only route travel agents are recommending is a seven-hour road trip, then 45 minutes ferry to the airport at Surabaya where we can take a flight to the capital of Indonesia Jakarta. That’s where the airline says we have the hope of leaving from to Dubai,” Katusya told Capital FM News in an email.
“We were meant to leave three days ago, but the airport remains closed,” she said.
As at November 28, international news agencies were reporting the volcanic eruption from the mountain had ascended to the heights of close to 10,000 feet above, posing an imminent danger to planes.
Whereas it is still unclear how many Kenyans are stranded in Bali, a CNBC News publication on Tuesday reported that up to 17,000 Chinese tourists are in the island with the nation’s consulate said to be making arrangements to avail some 100 buses to evacuate them.
Indonesia’s National Board for Disaster Countermeasure locally known as Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB) had since the eruption last week warned villagers residing close to the volcanic mountain to evacuate with even as concerns over their security begun to mount.
There are about 100,000 locals living in an area BNPB has mapped as the danger zone.
In 1963, a similar eruption – Agung’s last most severe – killed close to 1,100 people.
There are no casualties reported in the current eruption.
Indonesia is listed among what is commonly referred to as the “Pacific Ring of Fire” with at least 120 known active volcanoes.
Ashes emanating from volcanic eruptions can be catastrophic to airplane engines since they are likely to be clogged up.