Thursday, August 02, 2007

Volcano erupts in the Phillipines!

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.

Philippines prays for typhoons as dry spell bites Manila

A senior weather forecaster said Tuesday he hoped more typhoons would lash the Philippines this year to ease a lengthening dry spell that has caused power outages and threatens agriculture.
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.

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