27 Apr 2004

Volcano spews ash in Northern Marianas

7:45 am on 27 April 2004

A volcano in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas has erupted sending a heavy plume of ash into the atmosphere.

The volcano on uninhabited Anatahan Island erupted last year and burst back into life again yesterday.

The CNMI Emergency Management Office says the volcano sent ash up to 1,000 metres.

Office director,Mark Pangelinan, has warned that any change in wind direction might pose safety and health risks to residents on other islands and to airliners passing nearby.

Mr Pangelinan says as a precautionary measure, the Office want residents to be prepared.

He says the EMO has already advised airlines.

The office says volcanic ash and sulphur gas could be harmful to those with respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis or pneumonia.

The Australian Associated Press says no one was hurt in the eruption, as was the case last year.

The US Geological Survey warned on April 14 of a "swarm of seismic activity" on Anatahan, heralding renewed activity.