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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 11:57 GMT
Volcano sparks Ecuador evacuation
Residents sweep ashes from the street in Quero, Ecuador
The ash has covered nearby towns and villages
Hundreds of villagers in Ecuador have been ordered to evacuate their homes after a volcano shot columns of ash several kilometres into the air.

About 1,000 people have been told to leave the area surrounding the Tungurahua volcano, 130km (80 miles) south of the capital, Quito.

President Rafael Correa said a state of emergency already in place would be extended for 60 days.

An eruption in 2006 killed four and left thousands of people homeless.

The volcano, whose name means Throat of Fire in the local Quichua language, spurted molten rock and shot ash 10km (6 miles) into the air on Wednesday.

The ash covered thousands of acres of farmland, destroying property, crops and livestock.


"We couldn't stand the racket," said Luis Penafiel, who fled his home for a shelter in Pelileo.

"The children were scared and yelling a lot. The women were also scared to death so we decided to get out of there," he told the Reuters news agency.


"The volcano has entered a new explosive eruption cycle, a process which does not seem to be slowing down," said Hugo Yepez, director of Ecuador's Geophysics Institute.

Populations on Tungurahua's western flank have been most affected, particularly the communities of Bilbao, Cusua, Chacauco and Puela, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The tourist town of Banos is currently not at risk, it reported.

Ecuador volcano sparks evacuation
17 Jul 06 |  Americas
In pictures: Ecuador volcano
16 Jul 06 |  In Pictures
Animated guide: Volcanoes
04 May 06 |  Science/Nature
Country profile: Ecuador
06 Dec 07 |  Country profiles

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