Evacuations ordered as Ecuadorean volcano threatens
BANOS, Ecuador (CNN) -- The Ecuadorean government has ordered
the evacuation of some 25,000 people from a popular tourist town as
a nearby volcano continues to spew ash and appears on the verge of a
Government authorities said there is an 80 percent chance the 16,278 feet
(5,020 meter) Tungurahua Volcano, which towers over the scenic town 75
miles (120 kilometers) south of the capital, Quito will erupt within the next
few days. The Ecuadorean Red Cross said the area was put on alert
Saturday after monitors logged increased seismic activity.
What had been a voluntary evacuation was made mandatory with a deadline
of Sunday afternoon. Officials said about half of those affected have already
left. Those not heeding the order will be forcibly removed. The towns of
Penipe, Puela, and Bilboa also are included in the evacuation order.
The volcano has already covered the surrounding areas with a blanket of
ash. Officials said an estimated 40,000 chickens have died from respiratory
Ecuador President Jamil Mahuad flew over the
crater and says he's very concerned an eruption
The live volcano is one of several attractions which makes Banos one of
countries most visited tourist attractions. Visitors come from around the
world to experience its hot springs, waterfalls and tumbling green slopes.