Jakarta (ANTARA) - Thousands of residents in Sitaro Islands District, North Sulawesi, have been evacuated due to the second-phase eruption of Mount Ruang, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

Abdul Muhari, the BNPB Head of the Disaster Data, Information, and Communication Center, said on Tuesday that seven emergency posts have been prepared to accommodate 12,000 evacuees.

Evacuees were transported on ships provided by the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL), and the National Police (Polri) to emergency posts located in Manado and Siau Island.

"We are ensuring that they are prohibited from leaving the evacuation posts to return to their homes during the emergency response period, which will extend until the next 14 days or until conditions return to normal," Muhari said.

The step has been taken because Tagulandang Island is among the regions that have been affected the most by the eruption, he said.

According to the BNPB, since the first phase of the eruption on April 17, at least 3,614 houses, two churches, and school buildings have been damaged by the materials and shocks from the eruption.

The residents' houses are only around 8–10 kilometers from the volcano's summit.

"In the second-phase eruption, the shocks and the coverage of the volcanic materials have been wider, reaching a radius of 7 kilometers. Thus, it is feared that the impact could be greater," he said.

The Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG) has raised the status of Mount Ruang from Level 3 (Alert) to Level 4 (Beware).

The alert level was raised after the stratovolcano erupted again and spewed an eruption column reaching 2,000 meters above its summit, accompanied by rumbling sounds and continuous vibration at 2:35 a.m. local time.

The PVMBG recommended the immediate evacuation of residents within a radius of 6–7 kilometers from the center of the active crater of Mount Ruang, where no activity is permitted.

Evacuation is considered crucial, especially for those living near the coast who are at risk of being affected by volcanic stones, hot clouds, and a potential tsunami due to the collapse of a part of the volcano into the sea.

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Translator: M Riezko, Raka Adji
Editor: Anton Santoso
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