Mount Ruang Eruption Closes Manado Airport, Affects Thousands

Mount Ruang eruption in Indonesia forces closure of Manado airport, evacuation of thousands, and concerns over potential tsunami. Highlights Indonesia's vulnerability to volcanic hazards.

Emmanuel Abara Benson
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Mount Ruang Eruption Closes Manado Airport, Affects Thousands

Mount Ruang Eruption Closes Manado Airport, Affects Thousands

The Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia continues to be shut down until Monday, April 22, 2024 at 12:00 PM local time due to the ongoing eruption of Mount Ruang. The volcano, located in the Sitaro Regency, began erupting on April 16 and has continued to spew ash columns, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents in 10 villages and 2 sub-districts.

Authorities have established a restricted area within 6 km around the volcano, which is currently at the highest warning level in Indonesia's four-level system. The eruption has covered houses, roads, and other buildings in volcanic debris. Officials are concerned about the potential collapse of part of the volcano into the sea, which could trigger a tsunami similar to one that occurred in 1871 following an eruption.

As of April 21, a total of 527 residents have been evacuated from the affected areas to Bitung City, 51 km away from Manado. This includes 327 refugees comprising 192 women and 135 men, with two people suffering from severe health issues. The evacuees are being cared for by health teams from the Indonesian Navy and the Bitung City Government.

The closure of Sam Ratulangi International Airport, which is more than 100 km away from the volcano, is a precautionary measure due to the persistent volcanic activity. PT Angkasa Pura I, the airport operator, has extended the closure as the volcanic ash poses a risk to aircraft safety. The eruption has forced the cancellation of dozens of flights, including 27 by the Lion Air Group.

Why this matters: The eruption of Mount Ruang highlights the ever-present danger posed by Indonesia's numerous active volcanoes. As one of the most volcanically active countries in the world, eruptions can have extensive consequences on residents, infrastructure, and transportation. The closure of a major international airport underscores the need for vigilance and preparedness in the face of these natural hazards.

According to the Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG), Mount Ruang remains at the highest alert level, and the community is not allowed to enter within a 6 km radius from the peak. The PVMBG has urged heightened vigilance among people living near active volcanoes, with five other volcanoes in

Key Takeaways

  • Mount Ruang in Indonesia erupted on April 16, forcing airport closure until April 22.
  • Volcanic ash has covered houses, roads, and buildings, prompting evacuation of 527 residents.
  • Authorities have established a 6 km restricted area around the volcano at highest alert level.
  • Closure of Sam Ratulangi International Airport, over 100 km away, is a precautionary measure.
  • Eruptions in Indonesia pose extensive risks, highlighting need for vigilance and preparedness.