Manado, N Sulawesi (ANTARA) - A total of 327 evacuees of the Mount Ruang eruption in Sitaro District, North Sulawesi, arrived at the Indonesian Navy's Main Naval Base (Lantamal) VIII in Bitung City on Saturday evening (April 20).

The evacuees, who belong to the third wave of evacuations, were transported from the eruption-affected area to Bitung City by Indonesian Naval Ship (KRI) Kakap-811, the Lantamal VIII commander, Colonel Mohamad Noordin Mutaqien said.

The evacuees comprise 192 women and 135 men. Two of them suffer a stroke and bleeding, he told local journalists when welcoming the vessel's arrival.

As of Saturday, 527 evacuees of the Mount Ruang eruption had arrived in Bitung, about 51 km away from Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi Province as the navy had accomplished the first and second waves of evacuations on Thursday (April 18) and Friday (April 19), respectively.

In the first evacuation, the navy transported 195 displaced residents while in the second evacuation, it carried five people from the eruption-affected district, Mutaqien added.

Both the navy and Bitung city administration had provided a team of medical personnel to serve those in need of medical treatment, he said, adding that the arriving evacuees join their respective families in Bitung, he said.

Meanwhile, Sulce Derek, one of the evacuees, said the eruption had displaced her and her family members.

Therefore, she and seven other family members, temporarily stay at her relative's house in Bitung as the Mount Ruang eruption damaged her house in Bahoy Village, Tagulandang Subdistrict.

Mount Ruang erupted on Tuesday (April 16) around 7:19 p.m. local time.

According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), an increase in volcanic activity on the volcano may have been triggered by the tectonic earthquake that jolted Doi Island in North Maluku.

Taking note of the increasing volcanic activity, the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) raised its alert status to Level III at 4 p.m. local time on Tuesday (April 16).

The BNPB reported that the eruption forced residents in Patologi and Pumpente villages, Tagulandang sub-district, to evacuate using Lokong Banua and Lohoraung ferry vessels as well as locals' boats.

The displaced villagers took shelter in several places, including the GMIST Nazareth Bahoi Church, Bahoi Vocational Center, Tagulandang Sports Center, and the Tagulandang community center, the agency said.

The eruption not only displaced locals but also disrupted the communication network in Laingpatehi village, according to the BNPB.

The Sitaro district government has declared an emergency status from April 16 to 29 to assist in disaster mitigation efforts.

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Translator: Jorie MRD, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Atman Ahdiat
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