Indonesia's volcano eruptions force thousands to evacuate-Xinhua

Indonesia's volcano eruptions force thousands to evacuate

Source: Xinhua| 2024-05-04 18:04:00|Editor: huaxia

by Dames Alexander Sinaga

JAKARTA, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of people have been evacuated after Mount Ruang on the northern side of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi erupted intensely since last month.

The multiple eruptions of Ruang have forced the country's disaster mitigation agency BNPB to urge more than 12,000 people to evacuate.

BNPB chief Suharyanto told state news agency Antara on Friday that more than 3,000 people on neighboring Tagulandang Island, east of the Ruang volcano, have been evacuated to safer places. The evacuation involved navy vessels, civilian ships and one helicopter unit.

He expected all people on Tagulandang Island to be evacuated within three days as authorities have issued tsunami alerts in response to eruptions.

The dangerous level for Ruang, 725 meters above sea level, was raised again to the country's highest Level IV on Tuesday following increasing volcanic activities, with people on Tagulandang Island having been advised to evacuate to safe areas.

A series of eruptions of Mount Ruang, about 100 km from the provincial capital Manado, began on April 16 after increasing volcanic activities. After a few days' pause, an eruption occurred again on April 30.

Public facilities, including schools and the provincial airport, were forced to close in affected areas. Although no casualties have been reported, properties as well as woodland and pasture have been destroyed by lava flows and hot clouds.

President Joko Widodo has ordered the relocation of all residents living on Ruang Island following the eruptions.

"Relocation for residential areas is needed and must be accelerated," said the president during a meeting on Friday on the evacuation of residents following Mount Ruang eruptions. He added that evacuees that will be relocated were not allowed to return to their homes.

According to the regional administration, around 21,000 people were affected in the natural disaster with at least 4,500 houses damaged.

Denny Kondoj, secretary of Sitaro Islands Regency's administration, told local media on Friday that more than 9,000 people were already being accommodated in temporary shelters. They were evacuated to cities, including Manado, Bitung and North Minahasa.

Located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is one of the countries with the most volcanoes in the world.