Portuguese island readies evacuation plan over fears volcano is about to erupt

Azores volcano
By Linsey McNeill
28/03/2022
Home » Portuguese island readies evacuation plan over fears volcano is about to erupt

The Azores is ready to evacuate thousands of people from the island of Sao Jorge, where there are fears that a volcano is about to erupt.

Hundreds of small earthquakes – the highest reaching 3.3 magnitude – have been felt on the island since last Wednesday.

While local authorities are appealing for residents to stay calm, reports suggest that more than a thousand have already fled the island, which is popular for walking holidays.

The region has activated its emergency plan to evacuate all 8,400 remaining locals in Sao Jorge if needed.

People living in the small plains at the bottom of cliffs in the town of Velas have already been told to leave. Mayor Luis Silveira was quoted in the Express saying: “We are living moments of anguish, of some fear. We have been asking people to keep calm, but it is becoming harder.”

The last time the volcano erupted on Sao Jorge was in 1808, which saw a series of explosions along the south-central part of the island, with lava reaching as far as the coast.

The Azores surveillance centre said that there was ‘no evidence that a volcanic eruption was imminent’, but said such a scenario could not be discarded.

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