Mt Agung’s pending eruption sees 81,000 Balinese heading away from the hills
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Mt Agung’s pending eruption sees 81,000 Balinese heading away from the hills

MORE THAN 81,000 Indonesians have been displaced on the island of Bali as its highest volcano Mt Agung grumbles and spews white smoke, sparking fears of an eruption.

The Indonesian Red Cross said on Tuesday that 81,000 Balinese had become internally displaced persons (IDPs) as they flee potential disaster.

Indonesian officials have imposed a 12km exclusion zone around the volcano, whose last eruption in 1963 killed over 1,000 people and destroyed several settlements.

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President Joko Widodo meets with those evacuated from their homes near Mt Agung, Bali, Indonesia on 26 September 2017. Source: Sekretariat Kabinet

Indonesia’s President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visited those who had been evacuated on Tuesday, providing IDR7.1 billion (US$530,000) in aid to IDPs, reported state news agency Antara.

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The vast archipelago of Indonesia is prone to all manner of natural disasters including volcanic eruptions. Located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, it is home to more than 130 active volcanos – more than any other country on earth. Around 76 have erupted in historical times.

A number of countries, including Australia, Singapore and the United States, has issued travel warnings for their citizens about going to the world-famous tourist hotspot.

Bali attracted almost five million tourists in 2016, mostly from Australia, China and Japan.