18 Jan 2005

CNMI Health Department warns of possible ashfall in Saipan, Tinian and Rota

11:14 am on 18 January 2005

The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas' Department of Health has issued a volcanic ash health advisory.

The volcano on the uninhabited island of Anatahan, situated north of Saipan, began erupting on January the 5th.

The advisory says that a passing tropical storm may send the volcano's ashfall toward Saipan, Tinian and Rota.

The Medical Director for CNMI's Department of Public Health, Dr Richard Bostrom, says its a necessary precaution.

"It can cause tearing in the eyes, and some people are having problems with coughing and feeling heaviness in the chest. Its from the sulphur gas. However, if it does get a lot more intense, it can cause significant health problems, including asthma, and cause people to seek care in the hospital."

Dr Bostrom says the health advisory will be in place until Wednesday.