Karangetang lava flow reaches the sea, 5 villages evacuated, Indonesia

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Lava flow produced by Indonesian Karangetang volcano has reached the sea on February 6, 2019. Over 110 villagers have been evacuated so far to safe locations across the volcanic island.

Reports available on February 3 said authorities are evacuating Batubulan village after lava flow approached the nearby river and threatened to cut the road connecting the village with the rest of the island.

Lava flow produced by Mount Karangetang on February 3, 2019. Image credit: ESA/Sentinel-2 (False Color – Urban)

Over the next 48 hours, authorities evacuated over 110 villagers from 5 villages. Lava flow has crossed the coastal road and reached the sea. 

No significant damage was reported from Batubulan village.

"About 30 of our personnel are at the scene, helping evacuate the people. We have deployed two rubber boats and two other boats," Amirruddin, the Head of Search and Rescue Office for Manado said. 

Amirruddin said his office is monitoring the situation. "We are ready to immediately move in with ships and evacuate coastal villages if the danger level is declared as an emergency."

Residents and visitors/tourists are urged to approach to volcano within a 2.5 km (1.5 miles) radius of the main and northern crater and within 3 km (1.8 miles) in South, Southeast, West and Southwest sectors. 

All nearby communities are expected to prepare masks in the event of ashfall and be aware of all potential threats, especially along the banks of Batuawang river to the beach.

The Alert Level for the volcano remains at 3 since December 21, 2019 after a sharp increase in the number of earthquakes under the volcano.

​​Geological summary

Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, north of Sulawesi. The stratovolcano contains five summit craters along a N-S line.

It is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented in the historical record (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World: Neumann van Padang, 1951).

Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; collapse of lava flow fronts has also produced pyroclastic flows.

Featured image: Karangetang lava flow reaches the sea. Credit: KOMPASTV

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