Philippine Volcano Erupts As Nation Prays For Drought Breaking Rain
Manila (AFP) July 31, 2007
A volcano erupted in the eastern Philippines on Tuesday, raining ash on two towns, but there were no reports of casualties, volcanologists said. No immediate evacuation of nearby communities was necessary unless the apparently short-term eruption of Bulusan volcano worsens, Julio Sabit of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology told AFP. Located on the southeastern tip of the main island of Luzon, the 1,559-meter (5,145-foot) Bulusan erupted at about 9:30 am (0130 GMT) with a burst of ash that shot up six kilometers (3.7 miles) above the crater, Sabit said.
The column drifted west toward the towns of Juban and Irosin. Government volcanologists were going to the site to evaluate the scale of the volcanic activity, he added.
"The eruption is nearly over although there could be more to follow based on previous activity," Sabit said. "People's lives are not in danger as of the moment and no evacuations have been ordered."
However, if the eruption persists several villages near the lower slopes could be under threat from volcanic ash carried down by rivers and streams, he added.
Bulusan is one of the Philippines' 22 active volcanoes. It is known to have erupted 16 time previously, the last one in early 2006.
Human settlements are banned within four kilometers (2.5 miles) of the crater.
earlier related report
Typhoons and storms kill hundreds in the southeast Asian archipelago every year, but Nathaniel Cruz, the government's chief weather forecaster, said rain induced by the strong winds could ease the "drier than usual" conditions on the main island of Luzon.
Scant rain has pushed water levels at Luzon dams below normal, affecting power generation and causing three-hour power outages last week.
"We need tropical cyclones," Cruz said over ABS-CBN television.
The weather bureau expects between two and three to hit the country in August and "let's hope that these winds will (bring rain)," he said. "We need the rainfall."
The bureau said that June and July rainfall patterns in much of Luzon, including Manila were "below normal" and "this has led to dry spell conditions."
It said this has been "felt in the various sectors, such as agriculture, water resources, health and energy."
If these conditions persist in the coming months it "may develop into drought conditions."
President Gloria Arroyo had asked the public to save water and ordered all agencies to prepare for a drought if rains do not come by August.
Source: Agence France-Presse
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Henley-On-Thames, England (AFP) July 26, 2007
More rains were forecast Thursday for flood-hit areas where meteorologists said the three months from May to July were the wettest in England and Wales since records began in 1766. The heavy rains came in two waves, one on June 24 and 25, that flooded much of northern and central England, killing four people, and another on July 20 that submerged swathes of south and west England.
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