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Locals leave area after fresh Iceland volcano eruption

by Staff Writers
Reykjavik (AFP) May 8, 2010
Sixty inhabitants of the zone around Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano have left the area voluntarily following fresh eruptions, a civil protection agency official said Saturday.

"There is a lot of ash falling and the community is affected", Gudrun Johannesdottir told AFP, adding that while authorities were monitoring the situation closely, no evacuation had been ordered.

"The Red Cross opened centres for people needing assistance. Those leaving (the area) have to report to the Red Cross," she said.

Sixty people told the Red Cross Saturday morning that they were leaving the area where the ash was falling, to the east of volcano, which is located in the south of the island.

The Eyjafjoell volcano began fresh and intensive ash eruptions overnight Thursday and caused Ireland, the Faroe Islands and Danish territory in the North Atlantic to temporarily shut airspace.

On Saturday Spain closed 15 airports and more than 100 flights were cancelled in Portugal.

Bjoern Oddsson, a geologist at the University of Iceland, said the smoke plume over the volcano had risen to seven kilometres (4.5 miles) Saturday and was bearing southeast.

"The volcanic activity is similiar to what it was yesterday and hasn't increased, even though it might seem like that to the people living in the area affected by ash fall," he said.

"In fact, it looks as if the explosive activity has decreased a little bit since yesterday."

The volcano began erupting on April 14 and caused travel chaos, with airspaces closed over several European nations for a week.

It was the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II, with more than 100,000 flights cancelled and eight million passengers affected. The airline industry said it lost some 2.5 billion euros.

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Iceland's volcano sends more ash towards Europe
Reykjavik (AFP) May 7, 2010
Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano threatened European skies with a new ash cloud Friday raising the risk of more flight cancellations, officials said. "Renewed and more intensive ash eruptions took place overnight and as a result, the area of potential higher ash contamination is forecast to extend from Iceland as far south as the western edge of the Iberian Peninsula during the day," Eurocontrol ... read more

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