Mount Ruang Eruption: Thousands Evacuated Amid Tsunami Fears and Airport Closure

Mount Ruang Eruption

Jakarta: In a dramatic escalation of volcanic activity, Indonesia’s Mount Ruang erupted five times in quick succession, leading to the evacuation of thousands and the closure of a key airport due to heightened tsunami concerns.

The series of eruptions began on Wednesday, with Mount Ruang’s crater spewing lava and ash against a striking display of lightning. The volcanic activity continued into Thursday morning, with a persistent column of smoke rising from the volcano, located in Indonesia’s far-flung region.

In response to the eruptions, authorities swiftly acted to evacuate approximately 11,000 residents from the danger zone, which encompasses the remote island of Tagulandang, with a population of around 20,000. The urgency of the situation was palpable as some residents attempted to escape in a state of panic.

Jandry Paendong, a representative from the local search and rescue agency, reported that residents had begun self-evacuating in a disorganized manner on Wednesday night, driven by fear as volcanic debris rained down upon them. To aid in the evacuation, 20 agency staff members were deployed, utilizing rubber boats to transport residents from coastal areas at risk of volcanic fallout.

Paendong emphasized the need for additional boats and equipment to expedite the evacuation of those in proximity to the coast, directly facing the threat of the volcano.

Authorities have established a six-kilometer exclusion zone around the volcano, urging tourists and locals alike to steer clear of the area. Following the initial eruption on Tuesday evening, over 800 individuals were relocated from Ruang to the neighboring Tagulandang island, with subsequent eruptions occurring on Wednesday.

The Indonesian volcanology agency issued a tsunami warning, highlighting the potential for incandescent rock ejections, pyroclastic flows, and tsunamis triggered by the collapse of the volcano’s structure into the sea. This warning was underscored by the tragic events of 2018 when the collapse of Mount Anak Krakatoa’s crater led to a devastating tsunami that claimed over 400 lives.

Indonesia’s geographical position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” makes it prone to frequent seismic and volcanic disturbances. This region is characterized by the convergence of tectonic plates, extending from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific.

The impact of Mount Ruang’s eruption necessitated the 24-hour closure of Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado City, situated over 100 kilometers from the volcano. Ambar Suryoko, head of the airport authority office in the Manado region, cited the spread of volcanic ash as a significant hazard to flight safety. The airport, which facilitates flights to Singapore and various cities in South Korea and China, remains vigilant as the situation unfolds.

Mount Ruang Eruption