Residents fear for safety as Indonesia's Mount Ruang volcano erupts

TAGULANDANG, Indonesia (Reuters) - Antelmus Paulus, 67, is in despair after the eruption on Tuesday of Indonesia's Ruang volcano rendered his home on Tagulandang island uninhabitable and prompted authorities to evacuate more than 12,000 people.

Antelmus' zinc-roofed house, about 7 kms (4.35 miles) from the 725-metre (2378.61 ft) high volcano, was heavily damaged by the ejected material.

"There were rocks that were spewed (from the volcano), it lasted at least three hours," he told Reuters on Thursday while awaiting evacuation. "I have no place to live now."

The Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) has also warned of a potential tsunami triggered by volcanic material collapsing into the ocean.

Another island resident, Sulce Ansar, said Tuesday's eruption was "worse" than the series of eruptions last month that forced hundreds to evacuate.

"I remember seeing the fiery red clouds (of) lava (spewing) into the air, along with gravels, volcanic ash raining down the island. I had to run very far that night," she said.

Video shared by Indonesia's disaster agency showed lightning flashing above Ruang's crater when it erupted on Tuesday.

Reuters witnessed collapsing roofs on most houses on Tagulandang island, with roads and building debris blanketed in a thick layer of volcanic ash.

Sulce and Antelmus are awaiting evacuation to Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi province in the north-central region of the sprawling Indonesian archipelago.

Indonesia's Disaster Agency (BNPB) said that, as of Thursday afternoon, 3,364 people had been evacuated from Tagulandang island, with more than 5,000 inhabitants remaining.

BNPB head Suharyanto, who goes only by one name, expects the remaining residents to be evacuated within the next three days.

A state of emergency, effective until May 14, has been declared by local government to facilitate aid access though authorities said the airport at Manado will remain closed until Friday.

(Reporting by Yuddy Cahya Budiman, Ananda Teresia, and Stanley Widianto; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)