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Bali airport will reopen after a change of direction of the volcanic ash

Ⓒ AFP – Sonny Tumbelaka – | Tourists are preparing to leave Bali in Indonesia, heading to a nearby island by boat on November 29, 2017 in Padangbai Bay

The international airport in Bali, which has been closed for almost three days, will reopen Wednesday afternoon due to a change in direction of the ash from the volcano that threatens the tourist island, authorities announced.

“The airspace will be reopened” at 3:00 pm local time (0700 GMT), said airport spokesman Ngurah Rai, Aroe Ahsanurrohim.

Since last week a dense column of ash and smoke have been propelled by the mountain, which has forced hundreds of flights to be canceled and has left around 120,000 tourists trapped.

The ash poses a double risk to airplanes as it makes the runway slippery and can also enter the turbines.

Tens of thousands of people have left their homes in the vicinity of the volcano, which erupted for the last time in 1963, leaving 1,600 dead, but it is possible that up to 100,000 inhabitants are displaced, warned the agency that manages natural disasters.

Indonesia, an archipelago with more than 17,000 islands and islets, is located in the “belt of fire” of the Pacific, where the collision of tectonic plates causes frequent earthquakes and an important volcanic activity.

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