Nigeria: Volcano Eruption in Indonesia Triggers Evacuation and Tsunami Warning

Nigeria: Volcano Eruption in Indonesia Triggers Evacuation and Tsunami Warning

By Zuleihat Owuiye, Mamos Nigeria

On April 18, 2024, Indonesian authorities rushed to evacuate thousands of people after Mount Ruang, a volcano located in the country’s outermost region, erupted multiple times. The volcano erupted four times on Wednesday, leading to the closure of a nearby airport and the issuance of a warning about potential tsunamis caused by falling debris.

The eruption of Mount Ruang resulted in a spectacular display of lava and lightning bolts illuminating the night sky. As a result, the alert level for the volcano was raised to the highest level on the four-tiered system used by authorities.

The volcano continued to emit smoke on Thursday morning, prompting the closure of the nearest international airport in Manado City on Sulawesi Island for 24 hours. This precautionary measure was taken to ensure the safety of air travel in the area.

In addition to the airport closure, authorities mobilized to evacuate 11,000 residents from the surrounding area, including the remote island of Tagulandang, which is home to approximately 20,000 people. Some residents had already begun to evacuate on their own, albeit without clear direction, due to the eruption and the falling debris. Search and rescue agencies deployed rubber boats to assist in the evacuation process, but more boats and equipment were requested to ensure the safety of those living near the coast.

Tourists and residents were warned to stay outside a six-kilometer exclusion zone to avoid potential danger. The volcanic eruptions also raised concerns about the possibility of tsunamis. Authorities urged residents of Tagulandang Island, particularly those residing near the beach, to be on high alert for incandescent rocks, hot cloud discharges, and tsunamis resulting from the collapse of the volcano into the sea.

The memories of the 2018 eruption of Mount Anak Krakatoa, which triggered a devastating tsunami, are still fresh in the minds of many Indonesians. The eruption caused a partial collapse of the volcano, leading to a tsunami that claimed the lives of over 400 people and caused significant damage.

Indonesia, being located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity. This is due to its position where tectonic plates collide, extending from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

The eruption of Mount Ruang also had repercussions for air travel. The Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado City, located over 100 kilometers away from the volcano, was closed for 24 hours due to the spread of volcanic ash. The airport serves flights to Singapore, South Korea, and China.

As the situation unfolds, it is important to prioritize the safety and well-being of the affected individuals. Officials will continue to monitor the volcanic activity and provide updates on the evacuation process and any potential risks.

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