Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) is targeting all victims affected by the Mount Ruang eruption to be evacuated to a safe place within the next three days.

"The evacuation process will be carried out in the next three days by utilizing all existing sea crossing ship defense equipment since it is the only way out that can be pushed," Head of BNPB, Suharyanto, remarked in a joint meeting with the North Sulawesi provincial government on Thursday.

He noted that a total of 12 thousand residents affected by the Mount Ruang eruption would be evacuated to safer places outside the island. The residents are from Tagulandang Island, Sitaro Islands District, which is less than 10 kilometers from the top of the volcano.

Based on the recapitulation data from the BNPB team, from the total number recorded on May 1, some 3,364 residents were successfully evacuated.

Suharyanto revealed that at least 5,719 people are still on Tagulandang Island and must be immediately moved to evacuation posts located on Siau Island, Manado, and North Minahasa, among others.

He remarked that currently, the number of ships has been increased to at least 11 units to transport the remaining residents.

According to Suharyanto, ships prepared to evacuate Tagulandang residents belong to the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), Indonesian Customs, Indonesian Navy, and private ferries.

Suharyanto stated that crossing routes to the refugee camps are Tagulandang-Manado, Tagulandang-Bitung, Tagulandang-Pahe Siau, and Tagulandang-Munte, with passenger occupancy of 600-100 people per trip.

"This is our effort to evacuate residents for their safety. Mount Ruang's condition is not yet stable after the second phase of the eruption," he remarked.

On April 30, Mount Ruang erupted, spewing volcanic ash up to five kilometers (km) high from its crater, with a gray ash column heading toward the east and south.

The Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (PVMBG) immediately increased Mount Ruang's status, from Level III (Alert) to Level IV (Caution) on the same day.

On May 1-2, volcanic activities at Mount Ruang continued to occur, dominated by continuous earthquake tremors.

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Translator: M. Riezko Bima, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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