Home > World News > Filipinos flee as volcano erupts

Filipinos flee as volcano erupts

Thousands of people in the Philippines fled their homes as a volcano
erupted on Monday, sending a spectacular column of ash high into the
sky, residents said.
The 1,559-metre (5,115-foot) Mount Bulusan volcano emits ash into the
air as it erupts in the town of Irosin in the Philippines on February
21. Thousands of people fled their homes as the volcano erupted,
sending a spectacular column of ash high into the sky.
The eruption of Bulusan, a 1,559-metre (5,115-foot) volcano, turned
mid-morning into night for about 20 minutes across largely farming
areas around its slopes, regional army spokesman Major Harold Cabunoc
told AFP.
“There was a major ashfall. There was zero visibility,” Cabunoc said.
State volcanologist Ramil Vaquilar told AFP that rumbling sounds
accompanied the ash column that rose between two and 2.5 kilometres
(1.2-1.6 miles) above the crater.
About 2,000 residents were evacuated from three farming villages in
the area as the government banned people from within four kilometres of
the crater, said Lieutenant-Colonel Santiago Enginco, the local army
commander.
Thirty-eight high school students were treated for ashfall inhalation, Enginco said.
Volcanic ash can cause nose, throat, eye or skin irritation as well
as contaminate tap water, while prolonged exposure can cause lung
disease, according to the health ministry.
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology director Renato
Solidum said on national television that planes should avoid the skies
over Bulusan, as ash might clog jet engines.
However the area is not widely used in the aviation industry.
Bulusan is among 23 active volcanoes in the Philippines, which is
located in the so-called Ring of Fire of volcanic activity around the
Pacific.
Bulusan, 360 kilometres southeast of Manila, last erupted between March and June of 2006.
The volcano also shot ash into the air in November last year, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.
However volcanologists said this was not an eruption, rather heated
ash deposits near the crater mouth that exploded and burst out on
contact with rainwater.
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