Indonesian volcano eruption forces evacuations, airport closure

By Reuters
April 19, 2024
Indonesia'sRuang volcano. — AFP

JAKARTA: Indonesia shut a provincial airport and evacuated hundreds of people from the vicinity of the Ruang volcano after it belched explosive plumes of lava, rocks and ash for days, officials said on Thursday, declaring the highest alert on the situation.


Wednesday’s dramatic eruption of the volcano on a remote island in the province of North Sulawesi threw a fiery-red column of lava, incandescent rock and ash as much as three km into the sky.

Purple flashes of lightning rent the sky above the erupting volcano, videos on social media showed.

“We are escaping because the ash is coming close.” More than 800 people were evacuated from the area, with authorities widening the evacuation zone further after the volcanology agency raised the alert status.

“The potential for further eruption is still high, so we need to remain alert,” agency official Heruningtyas Desi Purnamasari told reporters on Thursday, blaming a rapid escalation in volcanic activity.

The agency had also received reports that falling rocks and ash damaged homes and forced a nearby hospital to evacuate, the official said.