Indonesia plans permanent relocation of 10,000 after Ruang volcano eruptions

Indonesian government to relocate 10,000 Ruang islanders due to ongoing volcanic eruptions. The highest alert was raised, airport was to be closed.

The Indonesian government plans to permanently relocate nearly 10,000 residents from Ruang island due to concerns over the dangers posed by the ongoing explosive eruptions of the Ruang volcano, a minister announced on Friday.

Ruang Island, located in the North Sulawesi province, has a population of around 9,800 people. However, in recent weeks, all residents have been forced to evacuate as the volcano has continued to spew incandescent lava and towering columns of ash kilometres into the sky.

Authorities raised the alert status of the volcano to the highest level this week, prompting the closure of the provincial airport in Manado. They have also warned of a potential tsunami threat if parts of the mountain collapse into the surrounding waters. The decision to permanently relocate the islanders underscores the government’s concerns about the risks of residing on Ruang Island in the future.

The Indonesian government plans to construct hundreds of “simple but permanent” homes in the Bolaang Mongondow area to facilitate the relocation of nearly 10,000 residents from Ruang Island, according to coordinating human development minister Muhadjir Effendy. This decision comes after a cabinet meeting on Friday to discuss the ongoing volcanic eruptions on the island.

Mount Ruang, the volcano on the island, began dramatically erupting last month. Experts attribute the explosive eruptions to increased seismic activity in the region, including deep-sea earthquakes. The eruptions have forced the evacuation of all 9,800 residents as the volcano continues to spew incandescent lava and towering ash columns into the sky.

The situation on Ruang island remains precarious as Mount Ruang erupted again on Tuesday, causing damage to some homes. This forced residents, who had initially sought refuge on the nearby Tagulandang island, to evacuate further to the provincial capital of Manado.

Despite no eruption on Friday, Sam Ratulangi Airport in Manado remained closed until the evening due to the lingering spread of volcanic ash from previous eruptions.

Indonesia’s location along the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” an area where multiple tectonic plates meet, makes it prone to high seismic activity and volcanic eruptions.