More than 2,100 People Are Evacuated as an Indonesian Volcano Spews Clouds of Ash

Mount Ruang volcano erupts in Sitaro, North Sulawesi, on April 19, 2024. (AFP)
Mount Ruang volcano erupts in Sitaro, North Sulawesi, on April 19, 2024. (AFP)
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More than 2,100 People Are Evacuated as an Indonesian Volcano Spews Clouds of Ash

Mount Ruang volcano erupts in Sitaro, North Sulawesi, on April 19, 2024. (AFP)
Mount Ruang volcano erupts in Sitaro, North Sulawesi, on April 19, 2024. (AFP)

More than 2,100 people living near an erupting volcano on Indonesia's Sulawesi Island were evacuated Friday due to the dangers of spreading ash, falling rocks, hot volcanic clouds and the possibility of a tsunami.

Indonesia's Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation recorded at least three eruptions since Friday afternoon, with the maximum height of the eruption column reaching 1,200 meters (3,900 feet).

An international airport in Manado city, less than 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the erupting Mount Ruang, is still temporarily closed as volcanic ash was spewed into the air.

Satellite imagery from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency shows the ash has spread to the west, northwest, northeast and southeast, covering Manado and North Minahasa, according to a statement from Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry.

“We are still monitoring developments in the eruption of Mount Ruang and coordinating with relevant stakeholders ... to anticipate the necessary actions to ensure flight safety, security and comfort,” said Ambar Suryoko, head of the regional airport authority.

More than 11,000 people were told to leave their homes that were located in the affected area. A joint team from the local authorities combed the villages surrounding the volcano and evacuated residents to safer areas by boat.

Officials worry that part of the volcano could collapse into the sea and cause a tsunami, as happened in an eruption there in 1871.

Houses, roads and other buildings were covered by gray volcanic ash, and many roofs were broken by debris spewed from the eruption.

Mount Ruang saw at least five large eruptions Wednesday, causing the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation to issue its highest level of alert. People were ordered to stay at least 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the 725-meter (2,378-foot) mountain.

The observation from the agency on Friday said white smoke was rising from the main crater with medium to thick intensity.

East of the volcano, Tagulandang Island could be at risk if a collapse occurred. Its residents were among those being told to evacuate. Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency said residents would be relocated to Manado, a journey of 6 hours by boat.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, has 120 active volcanoes. It is prone to volcanic activity because it sits along the “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped series of seismic fault lines around the Pacific Ocean.



King Charles to Take Part in Official Birthday Celebrations

FILE - Britain's King Charles III pauses during the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London on Nov. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool, File)
FILE - Britain's King Charles III pauses during the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London on Nov. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool, File)
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King Charles to Take Part in Official Birthday Celebrations

FILE - Britain's King Charles III pauses during the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London on Nov. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool, File)
FILE - Britain's King Charles III pauses during the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London on Nov. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool, File)

King Charles III will take part in his official birthday celebrations in a little over two weeks, as the monarch eases his way back into public duties while continuing to undergo cancer treatment, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Thursday.
The news came amid reports that Prince William’s wife, Kate, will miss a public rehearsal for the event as she, too, receives treatment for cancer. It remains unclear whether the Princess of Wales will attend the main ceremony, known as Trooping the Color, on June 15, Britain's Press Association reported.
Kate has revealed few details about her illness or treatment since announcing her cancer diagnosis on March 22.
Charles had been returning to public duties before Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week called a snap election. That forced the king to postpone engagements that might divert attention from the campaign, raising questions about whether he would attend the birthday celebration.
Trooping the Color is a 460-year old tradition in which troops in full dress uniform parade past the king with their ceremonial flag, also known as their “color.”

Charles is likely to travel to the event by carriage with Queen Camilla and is expected to watch the Trooping ceremony seated on a dais, rather than on horseback as he did last year.