Tsunami risk from volcanic eruption: thousands evacuated

JAKARTA, ID – A tsunami alert was triggered in Indonesia on Wednesday after the Ruang mountain erupted, sending ash billowing thousands of feet into the air. In response, officials directed more than 11,000 people to evacuate the area immediately.

The volcano, located on the northern flank of the Sulawesi island, has witnessed at least five major eruptions in the past day, according to the Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation in Indonesia. Consequently, the volcano alert status was raised to its highest level.

Earlier in the day, at least 800 locals had already vacated the area.

Indonesia, an archipelago home to 270 million inhabitants, boasts 120 active volcanoes. Its location along the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped chain of seismic fault lines, makes it a hub for volcanic activity.

Tourists and locals have been advised by the authorities to stay a minimum of 3.7 miles away from the 2,378-foot-tall Ruang volcano. There is a fear that parts of the volcano could tumble into the sea, potentially sparking a tsunami, a scenario that played out in 1871.

Tagulandang island, situated to the northeast of the volcano, is once again in danger, and its residents are among those ordered to evacuate. Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency announced that residents would be transferred to Manado, the nearest city on Sulawesi island, a journey that takes about six hours by boat.

In a similar incident in 2018, the eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano in Indonesia led to a tsunami along the Sumatra and Java coasts. The tsunami was triggered when parts of the mountain slid into the ocean, resulting in the death of 430 people.