Manado, N Sulawesi (ANTARA) - Residents of Siau Tagulandang Biaro Islands (Sitaro) District, who were severely affected by the Mount Ruang eruption, would be relocated to a new settlement area, North Sulawesi Governor Olly Dondokambey stated.

The provincial government will coordinate with related government agencies to find a settlement area, he remarked in Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi Province, on Friday.

Deputy Governor Steven Kandouw shed light on the relocation plan during his recent meeting with those who bore the maximum brunt of the eruption.

Most of the affected residents had requested to be relocated, Governor Dondokambey confirmed.

The provincial government would find an appropriate settlement area for the eruption survivors, and the Public Works and Housing Ministry would build houses, roads, schools, and other public facilities for them, he added.

Mount Ruang, located about 109 km away from Manado City, erupted on Tuesday (April 16) at around 7:19 p.m. local time.

The eruption affected those living in the villages of Pumpente and Laingpatehi. On safety grounds, some 838 residents were evacuated to Tagulandang Island and temporarily sheltered in Apengsala Village.

Deputy Governor Kandouw and members of the province's Regional Leadership Communication Forum (Forkopimda) had recently visited the displaced residents and observed the disaster area.

Regarding the Mount Ruang eruption, Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported earlier that an increase in volcanic activity on the volcano might 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 April 16.

The BNPB reported that the eruption forced residents in the disaster zone to evacuate using ferry vessels and boats.

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

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

The Sitaro District Government declared an emergency status on April 16–29 to assist in the disaster mitigation efforts.

Related news: BNPB closes visits to Pumpente, Laingpatuhe villages near Mount Ruang
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Translator: Karel AP, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Anton Santoso
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