Tuesday January 09, 2007
By Corliss Smithen
Asthma sufferers and people with certain types of allergies are being warned to remain indoors and keep their medications close at hand today.
This advice comes in the aftermath of volcanic activity in the Soufriere Hills Volcano on the nearby island of Montserrat, which shot a large cloud of ash more than five miles into the sky during an eruption yesterday.
It is believed that the ash fall could reach Saint Kitts – Nevis, beginning last night and extending into a good part of today, hence the warning that it could cause health-related and respiratory problems. Montserrat’s British governor ordered some homes evacuated because of the likelihood of more activity and said police would enforce the order.
According to reports, yesterday’s explosion also sent a flow of volcanic material cascading two miles down the volcano’s northwest flank, but it did not threaten any of the British island’s 5,000 inhabitants.
The volcano’s latest burst of activity began on 24 Dec., 2006. Glowing streaks of red from the pyroclastic flows have created nighttime spectacles visible across much of the island. The volcano’s rising dome remained in place after yesterday’s explosion, raising fears of a bigger event soon.
The Soufriere Hills volcano became active in 1995, and more than half the territory’s 12,000 inhabitants moved away. An eruption in 1997 buried much of the south, including the capital Plymouth, and killed 19 people.