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Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Indonesia: Earthquake of magnitude 6.5 has struck the coast of West Java

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued the following travel information regarding Indonesia on December 15, 2017.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10 kilometres of Mount Agung in East Bali due to ongoing volcanic activity. This area is mostly covered by an existing exclusion zone put in place by the local authorities, which extends between 8 and 10kms from the crater. If you’re in this area, you should leave immediately.

An earthquake of magnitude 6.5 struck the Coast of West Java at 2347 local on 15 December (nearest major city Bandung, approximately 100 miles from the epicentre). There are reports of damage and casualties. You should monitor the media and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Following several months of increased volcanic activity, Mount Agung in East Bali began erupting on 21 November 2017. This has led to periodic closures at Bali and Lombok airports and disruption to flights in the region. The current period of increased volcanic activity may continue for some time and further disruption can’t be ruled out. In the event of a major eruption, areas beyond 10km may be affected, and the resulting ash plumes and release of particulate and gaseous pollutants into the air may have an impact on health. You should continue to monitor local media, follow the advice of the local authorities and keep up to date with this travel advice.

During previous eruptions, areas beyond 10km have also been affected by mud/debris flows (particularly in valleys) and volcanic ash falls. While in Bali, you should therefore monitor local media, exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.

Ash plumes can affect air quality and have an impact on health. Public Health England (PHE) advise that a properly fitted face mask may provide some protection. While masks should be available on the island, you may choose to buy your own before you travel. PHE recommend masks that comply with EU standards P2 or P3 or the US standards N95 or N98. You should make sure that your mask fits your face and you know how to wear it properly.

If you have any pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma, be aware that you might be at increased risk of triggering or worsening your symptoms. Make sure you travel with sufficient supplies of any regular medicines to cater for this.

In the event of a major eruption, areas outside of the current exclusion zone may be subject to increased levels of particulate and gaseous pollutants in the air. Face masks only offer protection against small particulate matter; they don’t protect against hazardous gases emitted by a volcano. Unless you’re advised to evacuate the area you’re in, the best way to reduce your exposure is to remain inside and close all doors and windows.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Indonesia. Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and intent to carry out these attacks at anytime and anywhere in the country. Types of attacks have included suicide bombing and small-arms fire, targeting public and crowded places.

The threat from Islamist extremism remains high, though the Indonesian authorities continue to disrupt attack planning, including arresting alleged terrorists reportedly in the advanced stages of preparation.

You should be particularly vigilant during holiday periods including the Christmas and New Year period, Chinese New Year (16 February 2018), Nyepi (Balinese New Year, 17 March 2018), Easter and Independence Day (17 August).

You should exercise caution when travelling to Aceh, Central Sulawesi Province (especially Palu, Poso and Tentena), Maluku Province (especially Ambon), Papua and West Papua Province due to potential for violence or violent conflict.

UK health authorities have classified Indonesia as having a risk of Zika virus transmission.

Possession, trafficking and manufacture of drugs are serious offences in Indonesia. Some offences carry the death penalty.

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Quote of the Day:
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