Indonesia prepares for a possible eruption of the Ruang volcano and closes seven of its airports

Indonesia prepares for a possible eruption of the Ruang volcano and closes seven of its airports
Indonesia prepares for a possible eruption of the Ruang volcano and closes seven of its airports

The Indonesian authorities They started this Wednesday evacuation operationwhich could reach 12,000 people, and closed seven affected airports due to volcano activity Ruang, in the north of the central island of Sulawesi. Teams from the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) evacuated this morning by boat more than a hundred residents of the town of Tagulandang, separated by a small strait from the island-volcano Ruang and less than 5 kilometers from the crater.

With suitcases and bags to store their belongings, the evacuees, many of them children, will be temporarily housed in shelters set up on Siau Island, about 25 kilometers from Tagulandang, according to the videos provided by the state agency. Parts of this coastal city are within the 7-kilometer exclusion radius around the volcano implemented since yesterday by the authorities, who maintain the Ruang at maximum alert level.

Between 11,000 and 12,000 people will be evacuated

Meanwhile, the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) estimated the day before that between 11,000 and 12,000 people will be evacuated because their homes are within the exclusion radius, some of whom have been in shelters for days as a result of the increase in activity of the volcano registered two weeks ago. The authorities fear that a strong eruption of the Ruang volcano, which yesterday expelled lava and ash more than 5 kilometers high, could cause the collapse of the boiler that falls into the seain turn, can create a tsunami.

In 1871 An eruption of this volcano has already caused waves of up to 25 meters that caused more than 400 dead, the country’s meteorological agency BMKG recalls in a statement. More recently, in 2018, the partial collapse following an eruption of the Anak Kratatoa volcano, located in the Sunda Strait that separates the islands of Java and Sumatra, caused a tsunami that left at least 426 dead.

Seven airports closed

The ash thrown by the Ruang has about 725 meters high and is located on a small island of the same name about 5 kilometers wide, has also caused the closure of seven Indonesian airports, with national and international routes, and affects the airspace of neighboring Malaysia and Brunei. The most important airfield of the clauses is located in the city of Manado, capital of the province of North Sulawesi and located about 70 kilometers southwest of the volcano, with routes to the Philippines and Singapore, among other countries. “Emissions of volcanic ash (…) are expected to have a significant impact on airspace,” notes BMKG.

Indonesia is home to more than 400 volcanoes, of which at least 129 remain active and 65 are classified as dangerous. In December 2023, the sudden eruption of the Merapi volcano, on the island of Sumatra, claimed the lives of 23 people. Indonesia sits within the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of ​​great seismic and volcanic activity that is shaken by about 7,000 earthquakes a year, most of them of small magnitude.

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