Ecuador launches higher alert for Volcano eruption

08:59, June 11, 2010      

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Tungurahua volcano erupts in Cotalo, some 170km south west from Ecuador's capital Quito, on May 29, 2010. Ecuadorian authorities ordered evacuation for thousands of residents near the slopes of the volcano. (Xinhua/Lourdes Robalino)

The mayor of Penipe locality, Fausto Chunata, said on Thursday that the city has issued an orange alert at the high risk zones due to the eruptive activities of Tungurahua Volcano, in Central Ecuador.

"The alert went higher from yellow to orange for taking more precise actions due to a possible eruption," Chunata said.

The danger level increased in the small villages under the jurisdiction of Bilbao, Puela, El Altar and Guano, in Chimborazo province, affecting some 500 families.

"In the areas with orange alert live some 500 families, each one with three members average, which will be evacuated during the night," the Emergencies Operation Center (COE) said.

The people have begun to be evacuated on Wednesday with the help of the rescue teams, policemen and soldiers, Chunata said.

"The children, elders and disable people cannot return to their houses as long as the current situation continues. The public forces keep control of all the accesses to allow the entrance of authorized people, who have to leave the place before 5:00 p.m. local time," Chunata added.

The Tungurahua Volcano began its eruptive process in 1999 and reached its peak in 2006, when it killed six people in a village of Chimborazo.

This volcano is of 5,029 meters high over the sea level and has a high activity according to the Geophysics Institute (IG) in its last report.



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