Thousands flee island as volcano erupts

27 November 2004 | 11:56 Code : 4499 Geoscience events
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More than 9 000 people will be evacuated from a tiny Papua New Guinea island, starting on Friday, as a volcanic eruption continues and heavy falls of ash destroy crops and pollute water supplies.
More than 9 000 people will be evacuated from a tiny Papua New Guinea island, starting on Friday, as a volcanic eruption continues and heavy falls of ash destroy crops and pollute water supplies.
Vulcanologists said the eruption on Manam island, off Papua New Guinea's north coast, had quietened after a major eruption on Tuesday sent ash soaring 14km into the air.
The eruption remained in the stage 3 category, which usually involves voluntary evacuations, but vulcanologists said the chance of a major explosive eruption remained high."The volcanic tremor system is still very fluid and it could result in a major eruption. The possibility of Manam erupting very explosively is still very high," he said.
A newspaper reported that a mass evacuation would start on Friday, taking villagers to the mainland via a barge. Officials were not immediately available for comment.
"The evacuation will start with four villages in the north that are the most affected by the increase in volcanic activity, causing heavier ash fall and discharge of volcanic rocks," the paper said.
Manam, about 13km off Papua New Guinea's north coast, is only 10km wide, with villages scattered around the sides of the central volcano, which towers 1 807m above sea level.
The newspaper said that although the alert remained at stage three, officials had ordered the evacuation because heavy ash falls had polluted water supplies and destroyed crops. - Reuters
"Tremors are still being recorded continuously," said vulcanologist Herman Patia of the Rabaul Island vulcanological observatory.

tags: QAZVIN


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