Jokowi to hand over Rp 7.1b to Mount Agung evacuees

"Mount Agung is entering a critical phase", Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said in a statement issued on September 26 after the government raised the status of the 3,031-meter-high volcano on September 22 following an increase in volcanic activity. A significant eruption would force the closure of Bali's global airport, stranding thousands.

"It's obviously an bad thing".

Increasingly frequent tremors show the molten magma is still rising towards the surface, with the mountain entering a "critical phase", said the national disaster mitigation agency.

Nugroho said hundreds of thousands of face masks will be distributed in Bali as part of government humanitarian assistance that includes thousands of mattresses and blankets.

Sitting on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia has almost 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

He added: "There is a definite possibility that it will erupt, however we don't know when it will happen".

Villager Wayan Merta said he was among the first to evacuate last week because his village, Selat, is just four miles from the summit.

After the eruption, it remained active for about a year.

Ash and smoke was spat up to 10 kilometres into the air and even reached the capital Jakarta, located around 1000 kilometres away. At the time, some 50,000 people were being evacuated from a 7-mile radius around the volcano. "The earthquakes are happening less frequently but the magnitude is getting stronger", Gede Suantika, a senior volcanologist at the agency told AFP.

The Agung Volcano in Bali Island, which is most tourist area in country, was last to explode in 1963, when about 1,000 people lost ir lives in explosion.

A woman and child sit in a tent at a temporary evacuation center for people living near Mount Agung, outside a sports arena in Klungkung, on the resort island of Bali, Indonesia.

Karangasem regency, where Mount Agung is located, is housing the largest number of evacuees, with 21,280 people spread across 84 shelters.

Mount Agung is at the left.