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Salvadorans Evacuate Santa Ana Volcano

September 23, 2005

SAN SALVADOR (EFE) – Some 40 families living at the foot of Santa Ana volcano in western El Salvador have fled their homes for fear of an eruption that authorities describe as imminent.Official sources confirmed this week that most of the more than 100 people who have fled their homes since Sept. 15 are women and children from the community of San Blas; the men have remained to watch over their property. The volcano, which rises 2,381 meters above sea level, has shown increased activity in recent weeks, exhibiting small earthquakes and spewing gases and ash. On Sept. 13, the National Emergency Committee staged a series of evacuation exercises at the foot of the volcano and announced that some 50 shelters are ready to house evacuees.The mayor of San Blas, Adilson Calderon, said the decision to evacuate “was made by the entire community as a means of prevention, rather than waiting for something to happen.”According to official reports, some 10,000 people live around Santa Ana volcano, whose emissions of sulfur are said to have already damaged some 700 hectares (1,730 acres) of crops.

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