After the new eruption of the Ruang volcano in Indonesia, thousands of residents have to be brought to safety. “More than 6,500 people have already been evacuated from five districts,” said Feri Ariyanto from the local emergency services to the German Press Agency.

According to civil protection, a total of 12,000 people living within a seven-kilometer radius of the Fire Mountain crater are to be evacuated using Indonesian Navy ships. The 725-meter-high Ruang north of the island of Sulawesi hurled a 2,000-meter-high column of ash, smoke and rock into the sky on Tuesday night (local time).

The authorities then again issued the highest alert level. The international airport in Manado, the capital of Sulawesi province, has been temporarily closed. As a precaution, the power supply was interrupted on the neighboring island of Tagulandang, five kilometers away. “We were all in a panic as showers of volcanic rock, gravel and ash rained down on us,” the news portal quoted an eyewitness as saying.

Fear of possible tsunami

Before the eruption, there had been a significant increase in both very deep and shallow volcanic earthquakes, according to the National Volcano Monitoring Agency. Residents were urged to wear masks and to be vigilant for possible tsunamis, which could be caused by boulders falling into the sea or the collapse of the entire volcanic body.

There have been eruptions on Ruang since mid-April. The volcano spewed clouds of ash and rock up to 3,000 meters high several times. Last week, however, the alert level was initially lowered after the Ruang calmed down somewhat.

In 1871, an eruption of Ruang triggered a tsunami with waves up to 25 meters high. Around 400 people died on the neighboring island of Tagulandang. There are about 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia. The world’s largest island state lies on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, the most geologically active zone on earth. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur frequently along this belt.