Saturday, July 15, 2006

Tungurahua - Quito Ecuador... Updated 16 Jul 06

About 3,700 people are being evacuated from the slopes of the Tungurahua volcano, 135km (85 miles) south of Ecuador's capital Quito. Tungurahua began rumbling in May in its loudest activity since 1999, when it became active after eight decades of dormancy. The town of Casua was evacuated as the volcano began spewing lava and toxic gases. No casualties are reported but roads and bridges are blocked and villagers have lost cattle and crops. Many villagers fled to refuge at schools and churches in the nearby town of Pingue. Troops helped the evacuation from the volcano, which means "throat of fire" in the local language. President Alfredo Palacio visited affected villages. Residents of Cotalo with stones projected by the volcano. The government has promised $5.7m in relief funds for the region.

EDIT Addition Sun 16 July 2006
Thousands Flee As Ecuador Volcano Erupts
Ap News 5:27 am 16-07-06

QUITO, Ecuador - Thousands of Ecuadorean villagers have fled their homes on the slopes of the Tungurahua volcano since it began erupting lava and toxic gases, authorities said Saturday.

No injuries have been reported, but some 3,700 people have abandoned their homes in half a dozen hamlets since Friday, the Civil Defense said.

"There have been no victims, but all the vegetation has died and we have lost cattle," said Juan Salazar, mayor of Penipe County, which includes two villages where 300 families have been forced to evacuate.

In May, the volcano, located 85 miles south of the capital of Quito, began emitting its loudest and most frequent explosions since it rumbled back to life nearly seven years ago after being inactive for eight decades.

On Friday, the Geophysics Institute reported that the 16,550-foot-high volcano had changed its behavior drastically by expelling at least four lava flows — the first since activity resumed.

Hugo Yepes, director of the institute, said the wind was carrying ash from the explosions up to 75 miles west of the volcano.

On Saturday, the institute said the explosions had lessened in frequency to every half an hour, from every five minutes on Friday.

Banos, a city of 20,000 people at the foot of the volcano, appeared to be out of danger because it is on the eastern side.


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