Airport near volcano reopens as Indonesia lowers eruption alert level

Sam Ratulangi airport has been closed since Thursday due to eruptions at nearby Mount Ruang.
This photo released by the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) shows a view of an eruption of Mount Ruang in the Sulawesi island, Indonesia.
This photo released by the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) shows a view of an eruption of Mount Ruang in the Sulawesi island, Indonesia.Photo | AP

MANADO: Indonesian authorities reopened an international airport near a volcano that erupted last week as they lowered a warning level on Monday.

Sam Ratulangi airport has been closed since Thursday due to eruptions at nearby Mount Ruang.

Indonesia’s Disaster Management Agency lowered the volcano's alert level from four, the second-highest level, to three, but said residents were still ordered to remain at least 4 kilometers (2.7 miles) away from the mountain.

More than 3,000 residents have been evacuated since Thursday due to dangers including ash, falling rocks, hot volcanic clouds and fears of a tsunami. A joint team from the local authorities combed the villages surrounding the volcano and evacuated residents by boat.

Danger continued with the possibility of small-scale eruptions, which could cause rock slides and other damage in the immediate area of the volcano.

Officials opened the airport after satellite imagery showed that rains had washed away volcanic ash covering the tarmac.

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.

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