Thousands Evacuated as Mount Ruang Erupts Again in North Sulawesi

Thousands Evacuated as Mount Ruang Erupts Again in North Sulawesi

North Sulawesi, The Gulf Observer: The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reports that thousands of residents in the Sitaro Islands District, North Sulawesi, have been evacuated following the second-phase eruption of Mount Ruang.

Abdul Muhari, Head of the Disaster Data, Information, and Communication Center at BNPB, disclosed on Tuesday that seven emergency posts have been established to accommodate approximately 12,000 evacuees.

Utilizing ships provided by the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL), and the National Police (Polri), evacuees were transported to emergency posts located in Manado and Siau Island.

Muhari emphasized the prohibition of evacuees from returning to their homes during the emergency response period, slated to last for the next 14 days or until conditions normalize. This precautionary measure is particularly significant for Tagulandang Island, one of the areas most severely affected by the eruption.

Since the initial eruption phase on April 17th, the BNPB has reported damage to at least 3,614 houses, two churches, and school buildings due to volcanic materials and seismic activity. The proximity of residents’ homes, situated merely 8–10 kilometers from the volcano’s summit, has heightened concerns.

“In the second-phase eruption, the seismic activity and coverage of volcanic materials have expanded, reaching a radius of 7 kilometers. Consequently, the potential impact is feared to be more extensive,” stated Muhari.

The Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG) has escalated the alert status of Mount Ruang from Level 3 (Alert) to Level 4 (Beware). This decision follows the recent eruption, characterized by an eruption column reaching 2,000 meters above the summit, accompanied by rumbling sounds and continuous vibration at 2:35 a.m. local time.

PVMBG has urged the immediate evacuation of residents within a 6–7 kilometer radius from the active crater center of Mount Ruang, where any activity is strictly prohibited. Evacuation is deemed imperative, particularly for coastal residents at risk of volcanic stones, hot clouds, and potential tsunamis resulting from volcanic collapse into the sea.