Manado, N Sulawesi (ANTARA) - Following a temporary closure due to volcanic ash from Mount Ruang eruptions, Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado City, North Sulawesi, resumed operations on Sunday at 10:01 a.m. local time.

The resumption of the airport's operations was confirmed by a notice to airmen (NOTAM), according to the airport's general manager, Maya Damayanti.

On Sunday, passengers flocked to the airport's departure terminal as it served 19 Manado-Jakarta round-trip flights from Lion Air and two flights for Sorong and Ambon from Transnusa Airlines, she said.

National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia and its subsidiary, Citilink, also served passengers on the Manado-Jakarta route, she added.

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

The eruption closed the airport temporarily on April 18–22, with 162 planes affected and 20,332 passengers stranded, both departures and arrivals.

On Saturday, Damayanti said that the airport was again closed until 10:00 a.m. local time on Sunday following the volcano's second eruption on April 30, as the volcanic ash is a serious hazard to aviation safety.

The Mount Ruang eruptions, which occurred from April 16 to 30, did not just force the airport to be temporarily closed.

The eruptions had also displaced more than 9,000 residents and forced local authorities to evacuate at least 12,000 residents.

Due to its serious impact on residents living near the volcano in Siau Tagulandang Biaro Islands (Sitaro) District, North Sulawesi, President Joko Widodo chaired a limited meeting on Friday (May 3).

The limited meeting concluded with the government's decision to permanently relocate 301 families living near the volcano to a new settlement to ensure their safety, Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (AHY) said.

AHY, who also heads the National Land Agency (BPN), announced plans to relocate the 301 families to Modisi village in Pinolosian Timur sub-district, Bolaang Mongondow Selatan District.

The village has been chosen for the relocation since its topography could help the affected families continue to make a living through fishing and coconut farming, he said.

Homes and essential infrastructure facilities would be provided in the new settlement area to the affected families, AHY added.

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Translator: Nancy LT, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Anton Santoso
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