Manado, North Sulawesi (ANTARA) - The government is preparing a relocation location for residents of Ruang Island, North Sulawesi, affected by the Mount Ruang eruption on April 16, an official of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said on Monday.

There are 272 families, or around 838 people, who live on Ruang Island.

"They are now being evacuated and soon will be relocated," said Jarwansyah, BPNB Deputy for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, on Monday.

He added that the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing will conduct the construction of the relocation site in Tagulandang Sub-district, Sitaro Islands District, for Ruang Island residents.

"The regional government will provide seven hectares of land for future relocation. This is underway," Jarwansyah stated.

Evacuated residents were advised against returning to their places of origin. Moreover, a survey from 13 evacuation points also stated that they requested to be relocated, Jarwansyah remarked.

"They (refugees) hope they will be relocated somewhere not too far away," he noted.

Jarwansyah explained that after the emergency response is completed and the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) lowers Mount Ruang's status and confirms no tsunami threat, residents other than those from Ruang Island will be expected to return home for repairs.

"We hope the refugees can renovate their damaged houses. We will assist them with roofing materials and tarpaulins so they can return home and stop living in refugee camps," he said.

Ruang Island residents are currently staying in refugee camps set up at various locations following the eruptions of Mount Ruang, he added.

PVMBG has lowered Mount Ruang's status from alert level IV to level III.

Juliana D. J. Rumambi, Head of the Volcano Monitoring and Land Movement Disaster Mitigation Center for Sulawesi and Maluku, pointed out that the volcanic seismicity of Mount Ruang is showing a decreasing trend.

"The fluctuating volcanic seismicity is on a downward trend, and the status is currently at Level III," she remarked.

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Translator: Karel Alexander P, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Anton Santoso
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