IN IMAGES, IN PICTURES. In Indonesia, the eruptions of the Ruang volcano cause the evacuation of thousands of people

The volcano has erupted five times since Tuesday and projected a cloud of ash more than a kilometer high into the sky.


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The Ruang volcano erupts on the night of April 17, 2024 near Sitaro (Indonesia).  (CENTER FOR VOLCANOLOGY AND GEOLOGICAL HAZARD MITIGATION / AFP)

Indonesian emergency services were mobilized on Thursday April 18 to evacuate several thousand people threatened by the eruption of the Ruang volcano, in the north of the archipelago. A warning of a risk of a tsunami in the event of rocks collapsing into the sea has been issued by the authorities. The volcano has erupted five times since Tuesday and projected a cloud of ash more than a kilometer high into the sky.

Images published by residents on social networks notably show lightning caused by the eruption. This type of volcanic storm occurs during powerful eruptions, which propel water vapor, ash and rocks.

Le Ruang, located on a small island in the northern province of Celebes, in an isolated area of ​​the archipelago, ignited and spewed lava during the night from Wednesday to Thursday, leading the authorities to raise the alert level to the highest. He still released a column of smoke up to 800 meters high Thursday morning, according to the authorities.

A view of the Ruong volcano located in the Sangihe Islands (Indonesia), as it erupted, on April 17, 2024. (CENTER FOR VOLCANOLOGY AND GEOLOGY / AFP)

Houses on the neighboring island of Tagulandang are riddled with holes from falling volcanic rocks, and residents are preparing to leave, at least temporarily. The roads are also “covered with volcanic materials”described to AFP a local rescuer contacted by telephone from the seaport of Tagulandang. “Currently, many people are still wandering. Perhaps to evacuate valuable possessions from their homes”he added.

Eleven thousand people evacuated

Authorities announced the evacuation of 11 000 of the 20,000 people who live near the volcano. In panic,Some residents tried to flee on their own, according to authorities. “Last night, people evacuated on their own, in disorder, due to the volcano erupting and falling materials and small stones”, said a rescue official on Thursday in a press release cited by AFP. Locals and tourists have been urged not to go more than six kilometers from the volcano. A prison located on the island of Tagulandang, opposite the volcano, was also evacuated at the request of the director of the establishment.

Residents of the area next to the Ruang volcano (Indonesia) are evacuated by the authorities on April 18, 2024. (INDONESIA'S NATIONAL SEARCH AND RESCUE AGENCY / AFP)

The authorities have also warned of a possible risk of a tsunami. “Residents of Tagulandang Island, especially those residing near the beach, should be on alert for the risk of incandescent rock projections, fiery clouds and tsunami caused by the collapse of the volcano mass in the sea”the director of the Indonesian volcanology agency said on Wednesday.

These fears are reinforced by previous disasters. In 2018, the crater of the Anak Krakatoa volcano, located between the islands of Java and Sumatra, partially collapsed during an eruption, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 400 people.

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