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People near Iceland volcano threatened by ash and floods

Last Updated: Friday, April 16, 2010 - 22:17

Reykjavik: Around 800 people living near
an Icelandic volcano spewing clouds of ash across Europe
returned to their homes after fleeing to escape flash floods
from a melting glacier atop the crater, authorities said
on Friday.
For the second time in two days residents quit their
homes briefly yesterday evening to avoid floodwater from the
melting Eyjafjallajokull glacier that covers the erupting
volcano, authorities said, adding they were being cautioned
to wear masks and goggles due to health risks from the ash.

"Local residents, with the exception of 20 farms, were
able to return to their homes when it became clear that flood
barriers had held back the flood water," the Civil Emergency
Administration said in a statement.

"There was no need for further evacuations during the
night despite two additional flash floods ... The flooding did
however cause widespread damage," it added.

Local Hvolsvollur police chief Kjartan Thorkelsson
told agency the situation was being closely monitored in case a
new evacuation was needed.

"If we see the water level going up we can again move
people quickly," he said.
University of Iceland geophysicist Pall Einarsson
predicted that the danger of flash flooding had yet to

"We can expect flood waves to come down from the
volcano without too much notice, and the people have to adjust
to that fact," he told agency.

People and animals had escaped harm so far in the
flooded rural area, some 125 kilometres east of Reykjavik, but
some farmland had been ruined, Thorkelsson said.

The main problem now was the massive clouds of ash
still spewing from the volcano, he said.


First Published: Friday, April 16, 2010 - 22:17

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