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Ecuador volcano explosion destroys homes of 100,000 residents

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United States
07/18/2006 08:25 AM
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Ecuador volcano explosion destroys homes of 100,000 residents
Ecuador volcano explosion destroys homes of 100,000 residents
UPDATED: 10:05, July 18, 2006

Patricio Donoso, president of Ecuador's Chamber of Agriculture, said on Monday that 100,000 people have lost their homes and 15,000 hectares of land were destroyed by the eruption of Tungurahua Volcano some 135 km south of the capital Quito.

"Farmers in the region are losing everything: livestock and planted land. The situation is very, very bad," Donoso told Teleamazonas television, calling on the government to provide emergency help.

The government evacuated 5,500 people who lived close to Tungurahua's crater on Friday.

The 5,029-meter-high volcano was showering the region with burning hot lava for a fourth day on Monday.

The Andean provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo in southern Ecuador have been put under an orange alert and regional authorities were watching the volcano, ready to declare a red alert which implies the total evacuation of the area around the volcano.

Hot and dangerous lava was due to reach the town of Banos, which has 15,000 residents, on Monday, experts told television.

Pablo Samaniego, of the National Polytechnic's Geophysics Institute, told the media that the volcano erupted in a fashion similar to that in 1918, with six to eight periods of explosive activity sending lava down its sides.

He said the volcano was like a boiling milk pan, burying things in ash in all directions.

Banos was also hit hard in 1918.
[link to english.people.com.cn]