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Thousands of evacuations after volcanic eruptions

Thousands of evacuations after volcanic eruptions
Spectacular eruption of the Ruang volcano in Indonesia

After several eruptions from the Ruang volcano in northeast Indonesia, rescue workers scrambled to evacuate thousands of people on Thursday. Authorities said 11,000 women, men and children were being brought to safety from the volcano’s surrounding area, which includes the remote island of Tagulandang. Because of the eruptions, parts of the volcanic island are in danger of falling into the sea. The highest alert level has now been issued.

The volcano in North Sulawesi province erupted a total of five times on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a column of smoke continued to rise on Thursday. Authorities closed the nearest international airport in the city of Manado on the island of Sulawesi for 24 hours until Thursday evening. The eruptions were preceded by several earthquakes since the beginning of April.

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On Thursday night, some people had already tried to escape on their own, said Jandry Paendong from the local search and rescue authority. Because of the volcanic eruption and the resulting falling rocks, chaos arose. 20 emergency services are now helping the residents along the coast near the volcano to evacuate with inflatable boats. People near the coast should be particularly careful because glowing rock could fall into the sea at any time, authorities warned. In Tagulandang, residents have already been injured by falling ash and stones, said disaster management spokesman Abdul Muhari.

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Tsunami danger from landslides

The Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Response (PVMBG) warned that parts of the volcano could fall into the sea and trigger high tidal waves – even a tsunami. Communities on the island of Tagulandang “need to prepare for the possible emission of glowing rocks, hot clouds and tsunamis that could be caused by the volcanic mass falling into the sea,” said Hendra Gunawan, director of the Indonesian Volcanology Agency.

In 1871, an eruption of Ruang triggered a tsunami with waves up to 25 meters high. Around 400 people died on the neighboring island of Tagulandang, five kilometers away. Southeast Asia’s Indonesia, with its more than 17,000 islands, lies on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where several tectonic plates collide.

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Source: Nachrichten

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