Indonesia's Ruang volcano spews more hot clouds after eruption forces closure of schools, airports

Mount Ruang volcano is seen during the eruption from Tagulandang island, Indonesia, Wednesday, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Indonesia's Mount Ruang volcano erupted Tuesday for a second time in two weeks, spewing ash almost 2 kilometers (more than a mile) into the sky, closing an airport and peppering nearby villages with debris.(AP Photo/ Hendra Ambalao)

By GRACEY WAKARI Associated Press

MANADO, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s Mount Ruang volcano spewed more hot clouds on Wednesday after an eruption the previous day forced the closure of schools and airports, pelted villages with volcanic debris and prompted hundreds of people to flee.

Seven airports, including Sam Ratulangi international airport in Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi province, remained closed after Tuesday’s eruption, the second in two weeks. Schools were shut to protect children from volcanic ash.

The volcano is on tiny Ruang Island, part of the Sitaro islands chain.

The Indonesian geological agency urged people to stay at least 7 kilometers (4 miles) from the volcano’s crater. It warned people on nearby Tagulandang Island, the closest to the volcano, of possible super-heated volcanic clouds from a further eruption and a tsunami if the mountain’s volcanic dome collapses into the sea.

Video released by the National Search and Rescue Agency showed about a hundred villagers from Tagulandang Island being evacuated on a navy ship. Hundreds of others were waiting at a local port to be evacuated.

Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari said 11,000 to 12,000 people living within a 7-kilometer danger zone would be taken to government shelters.

Tuesday’s eruption darkened the sky and peppered several villages with ash, grit and rocks. No casualties were reported.

After Mount Ruang’s April 17 eruption, authorities warned that a subsequent eruption might collapse part of the volcano into the sea.

Ruang is among about 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia. The archipelagic nation is prone to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes because of its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a series of fault lines stretching from the western coast of the Americas through Japan and Southeast Asia.