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Home >> World
UPDATED: 11:09, July 19, 2006
Ecuador volcanic eruption destroys 19,000 hectares of farmland
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The Ecuadorian President's Office said on Tuesday that the Tungurahua Volcano, currently erupting in central Ecuador, had destroyed 19,000 hectares of farmland.

Tungurahua had destroyed 12,000 hectares in Chimborazo and 7,000 in Tungurahua, the Foreign Ministry said.

The 5,029-meter-high volcano, which is showering the region with ash and burning hot lava, entered a critical phase on Friday that might last for months or years.

It has devastated villages that have maize, potato, cereal and livestock farms and affected more than 13,000 people.

The Ecuadorian government has evacuated around 1,000 families from Bilbao and Cusua, two of the badly-affected areas and is preparing to evacuate residents from Chacauca, Juive and Ponton.

Ecuador's President Alfredo Palacio has ordered the cabinet to come up with an emergency plan. The government decided on Monday to spend 4.9 million U.S. dollars to tackle the disaster, and has already spent 300,000 dollars delivering food, medicine and drinking water to refugees.

Source: Xinhua

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