|North Sulawesi’s Mount Soputan erupts at 8:47am this morning, spewing a column of ash into the skies above Minahasa regency. – Photo: The Jakarta Post|Viet Nam News
JAKARTA — Mount Soputan in North Sulawesi’s Minahasa regency emitted a 4-kilometer column of ash on Wednesday morning around 8:47am local time, or 7:47am Jakarta time, prompting authorities to raise the volcano’s status to Level III (alert) of the four-level national volcano alert system.
The Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) has advised local residents to refrain from entering the area within a 4- to 6.5-kilometre radius around Mount Soputan. Residents of riverbank settlements near the mountain – those on the Ranowangko, Lawian, Popang and Kelewahu rivers – were also warned of the potential for lava flows following rain.
The CVGHM forecast that the volcanic ash was drifting to the west and northwest. "This means that the volcanic ash will not disrupt flights. Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado is still operating normally, as it is located southeast of the mountain," it said in a statement.
“We also suggest residents to use dust masks to avoid any potential respiratory problems in the event of falling ash,” the centre added.
The North Sulawesi Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has distributed masks to residents of the affected areas. – The Jakarta Post/ANN