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Indonesia on alert for more eruptions at remote volcano

GreenWatch Desk World News 2024-04-19, 3:00pm

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Indonesian authorities were on alertFriday for more eruptions from a remote island volcano that forced thousandsto evacuate this week, as nearby residents began clearing debris after moltenrocks rained down on their villages.

Mount Ruang erupted nearly half a dozen times in 24 hours beginning lateTuesday, stirring a spectacular mix of fiery orange lava, a towering ashcolumn and volcanic lightning.
While officials said Ruang had started to calm Friday, authorities maintainedthe highest alert level of a four-tiered system, which indicates highvolcanic activity.
Hundreds of locals on neighbouring Tagulandang island were seen cleaning upvolcanic material from the harbour and their yards on Friday morning with thehelp of soldiers and police officers, according to an AFP journalist.
Some described their panic and rush to safety when the eruption began.
"I evacuated. There was a house. I stayed there. And then it rained and rocksfell. I prayed 'God have mercy, please help me God'," Ninice Hoata, a 59-year-old teacher, told AFP on Tagulandang.
White smoke of "medium to high intensity" was seen billowing up to 100 metres(328 feet) above the crater, Abdul Muhari, the national disaster mitigationagency (BNPB) spokesman said in a statement.
Other residents pleaded for more assistance.
"We really need tarpaulin assistance as soon as possible, to temporarilycover the leaking roof," said Herman Sahoa, a 64-year-old Tagulandangresident.
"We are worried there will be a follow-up because there is information aboutthat."
- Thousands evacuated -
Elsewhere houses could be seen lying empty and the electricity was out inparts of the island, the journalist said.
Officials said Thursday communications had been knocked out on parts of bothRuang and Tagulandang island, which hosts around 20,000 people.
More than 6,000 residents of Tagulandang had been evacuated to the other sideof the island that faces away from the crater, Joikson Sagunde, an officialfrom the Sitaro islands disaster management agency, told AFP.
A day earlier authorities said they hoped to evacuate 11,000 people in theexclusion zone.
The closure of a nearby international airport in Manado city, more than 100kilometres (62 miles) from the crater, was also extended to Friday evening,Abdul said.
The alert level upheld a six-kilometre (3.7-mile) exclusion zone around thecrater, as well as warnings about further eruptions and parts of the volcanocollapsing into the sea that could cause a tsunami.
In 2018, the crater of Mount Anak Krakatoa between Java and Sumatra islandspartly collapsed when a major eruption sent huge chunks of the volcanosliding into the ocean, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 400 people and injured thousands, reports BSS.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago nation, experiences frequent seismic andvolcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire".