Manado, North Sulawesi (ANTARA) - The joint task force team for Mount Ruang eruption in Sitaro Islands District, North Sulawesi Province, continues to make efforts to rescue affected residents until Sunday (April 21).

Head of the Disaster Data, Information, and Communication Center of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Abdul Muhari, said in his statement on Monday that the North Sulawesi provincial government gradually evacuates residents living in areas within a six-kilometer radius of the mountain's peak.

This effort was made along with the Sitaro district government, in accordance with recommendations from the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG), he noted.

Some of the residents were evacuated to several locations outside Tagulandang Island, such as Manado City, Bitung City, and North Minahasa, he stated.

"The evacuation was assisted by the Indonesian Navy using KRI Kakap 811, Basarnas with KM Bima Sena, and ASDP with KM Marina, KM Lokong Banua, KM Lohoraung, KM Pasatibo, including other ferries and motorboats belonging to residents," Muhari remarked.

Evacuated residents from Tagulandang Island were migrants, including local residents who had families in Manado City, Bitung City, and Minahasa, to vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, the elderly, people with disabilities, as well as residents who were sick and needed intensive care, he added.

The joint task force team had set up field kitchens at several points not far from the refugee camps, managed by the Social Service and the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI), he said.

Psychosocial support services by the Ministry of Social Affairs are also present for psychological assistance for displaced children, Muhari added.

In addition, a health post has been established at the Bethel Paninteang Church Building in Lesah Village, Sitaro District.

The team from the Health Service, the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), including other volunteers, continues to provide health services and distribute masks regularly due to the volcanic ash from Mount Ruang that can pose a risk to public health, according to him.

Muhari noted that the joint task force team has established a command post in Apengsala Village, Tagulandang Sub-district, approximately 15 kilometers from the foot of Mount Ruang.

This command post will accommodate coordination, progress report, and all emergency mitigation from cross-stakeholders in Sitaro District, he added.

In rescue and evacuation efforts, the joint task force team also continues to encourage support in the form of logistics and equipment needed during emergency management by focusing on fulfilling the basic needs of affected and displaced residents, he remarked.

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Translator: Karel Alexander P, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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