Following the earthquake-tsunami, a volcano has erupted on Indonesia’s Sulawesi, sending 4km of ash into sky

Mount Soputan erupting on the morning of Oct 3, 2018. Photo: National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) / Twitter

Following the devastating 7.5 magnitude quake and tsunami that hit the central region of Indonesia’s Sulawesi on Friday, another natural disaster struck the island’s north this morning when Mount Soputan in Southeastern Minahasa erupted, spewing a column of ash 4 kilometers into the air at 8:47am.

According to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, chief spokesperson for Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Mount Soputan is currently at Level III standby status and it is recommended that people do not enter anywhere within a 4 kilometer radius of the peak except to the west and northwest where a distance of 6.5 kilometers was recommended due to the direction of the wind and the threat of fallout from the eruption.

Mount Soputan (indicated by the red marker) is located in North Sulawesi. Destruction caused by Friday's earthquake and tsunami was centered around the city of Palu in Central Sulawesi. Image: Google Maps
Mount Soputan (indicated by the red marker) is located in North Sulawesi. Destruction caused by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami was centered around the city of Palu in Central Sulawesi. Image: Google Maps

There have not been any reports of damage from the eruption to the surrounding populated areas. Sutopo said that flight paths in the area were not affected for now and Sam Ratulangi International Airport in the city of Manado, to the north of Mount Soputan, would remain open and was operating as usual.  

“People are encouraged to remain calm. Follow all [disaster agency] recommendations. The Mount Soputan observation post continues to monitor volcanic activity,” Sutopo said in a statement as picked up by Detik. .

Massive amounts of aid and resources, both from the Indonesian government and international organizations, are already flowing to Central Sulawesi to help the estimated 200,000 people still in urgent need of help following Friday’s earthquake and tsunami that struck the city of Palu and surrounding areas. Some 66,000 homes were destroyed or damaged by the twin disasters and the official death toll currently stands at around 1,400 people.

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