Evacuations now underway
The Pico do Fogo volcano on the Cape Verde archipelago off the coast of West Africa erupted Sunday morning, prompting the evacuation of at least one nearby village.
The Fogo village of Chã das Caldeiras was ordered to evacuate. It is not clear if authorities will issue similar instructions to other communities.
The country’s Minister of Home Affairs told residents that “everything was under control.”
“Things could deteriorate in the coming moments”
However, “things could deteriorate in the coming moments, in the coming hours,” Jose Maria Neves in a statement on the government website.
“People should abandon Cha das Caldeiras,” he said referring to a hillside community.
The explosions started around 10 a.m. local time, a geophysicist who studies the volcano told a Cape Verde English news website. Seismic activity at the site had been unusual for days, he added.
The volcano last erupted in 1995, causing minor damage. A larger eruption occurred in 1951.
According Arlindo Lima, president of the National Civil Protection and Fire Service (SNPCB), the priority right now is the evacuation of about a thousand inhabitants of Cha das Caldeiras, although there continues to be “some resistance” by the young population to leave their respective homes.
Favorable winds pushing the sulfur cloud south
Arlindo Lima gave assurances that the small airfield in São Filipe is not closed and that commercial flights will remain available since favorable winds are pushing the sulfur cloud south toward the Atlantic Ocean.
However, he did admit that the smoke that has accumulated can cause breathing problems in some people.
A plane filled with geophysical experts, doctors and security personnel is expected on Monday morning if the situation allows, he added.
Thanks to Allesandro Decet, Wanda, Mark McCraley and Pvas for these links
“This article notes that eruptions are happening much more frequently, which supports your thesis that volcanic activity is going up,” says Mark.