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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Philippines raises alert after volcano spews ash

Thanks to Liz for this.
Philippines raises alert after volcano spews ash
08 Jun 2006 02:32:45 GMT
MANILA, June 8 (Reuters) - The Philippines has raised the alert level on one of its most active volcanoes and warned residents on Thursday to stay away from the mountain after its crater belched ash clouds.
Bulusan volcano in central Philippines spewed ash nearly 2 km (1.2 miles) high, prompting authorities to raise the alert level to 2 from level 1 ordered in March when ash first began flowing from its crater.
"We are seeing an increasing frequency of ash explosions," Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology told Reuters.
Solidum warned residents in Sorsogon province not to venture within a 4-km (2.5 mile) zone of the 1,559-metre volcano because of fears of sudden explosions. "We raised alert level 2 last night," he said as a measure of precaution.
At level 3 an explosion is considered possible, at level 4 it is seen as likely and at level 5, the highest alert, an eruption has occured with lava flows or ash columns reaching 6 km.
Bulusan, one of the six most active volcanoes in the Philippines, has had five ash eruptions since March.
The Philippines, like neighbouring Indonesia, lies in an area of the Pacific basin that is vulnerable to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Around 3,000 villagers have been evacuated from the slopes of Mount Merapi in Indonesia as hot gas and lava flows from its crater but volcanic activity is decreasing.
Mount Pinatubo, on Luzon island in the northern Philippines, erupted in 1991 in the century's biggest blast, burying dozens of villages under tonnes of mud after lying dormant for 600 years.
More than 800 people died in the wake of Pinatubo's eruption, mostly from diseases in overcrowded evacuation camps.

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