Threatened by an erupting volcano in northern Indonesia and the risk of a tsunami if rocks collapse into the sea, nearly 11,000 people are being evacuated by emergency services on Thursday April 18 .

After five eruptions since Tuesday, the Ruang volcano, located on a small island in the northern province of Celebes, burst into flames and spewed lava overnight from Wednesday to Thursday, prompting authorities to raise the level of alert at the highest on a scale of four. A cloud of ash more than a kilometer high in the sky forced the Ministry of Transport to close the Manado international airport located more than a hundred kilometers away.

A team of around twenty people is evacuating residents living along the coast facing the volcano on inflatable boats, he said. But some residents tried to flee in panic, according to authorities. “Last night, people evacuated on their own, in disorder, due to the volcano erupting and materials, small stones that fell,” Jandry Paendong, an official with the agency, said Thursday relief, in a press release.

Evacuation of a prison

Authorities also evacuated a prison on Tagulandang island, transporting 17 inmates as well as 11 staff and 19 residents by boat to the seaport of Likupang in northern Sulawesi island, according to Ikram Al Ulah. The evacuation was requested by the prison director because the establishment is right in front of the volcano, the rescuer said.

Authorities 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 flying rocks, fiery clouds and tsunami caused by the collapse of the volcano mass in the sea,” Hendra Gunawan, director of the Indonesian Volcanology Agency, said in a statement on Wednesday. Indonesia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the meeting of tectonic plates causes significant volcanic and seismic activity. The country has nearly 130 active volcanoes.

The authorities’ fears have been 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.