May 26, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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Volcanic island in the Azores evacuated after thousands of minor earthquakes |  Abroad

Volcanic island in the Azores evacuated after thousands of minor earthquakes | Abroad

The Portuguese island of São Jorge in the Azores has been hit by thousands of small earthquakes in recent days. Fears are growing of a major earthquake or volcanic eruption. The authorities began evacuating residents living at the bottom of the cliffs along the coast.

The volcanic island has recorded more than 2,000 earthquakes of between 1.6 and 3.3 degrees since Saturday. This was reported by CIVISA, the region’s volcano observatory.

Small tremors, which have not yet caused any damage, have been observed along the island’s Manadas volcanic fault, which last erupted in 1808. In 1980 the island was hit by a severe earthquake that caused extensive damage.

Seismic activity in the region has sharply increased in recent days. © via Reuters

CIVISA raised the volcano’s alert from four to five, indicating that the possibility of an eruption is “real.” The number of earthquakes appears to be higher than usual.

Hospital patients and residents of nursing homes in Vilas municipality, which was expected to be hardest hit by the earthquake, have already been transported to Calheta on the other side of the island.

Residents of the so-called ‘vagas’, small plains originally created by lava or landslides at the foot of the cliffs, are being evacuated as a precaution. There are about 40 fajas in São Jorge.

Luis Rivera, the mayor of Vilas, said on Wednesday that plans to move the rest of the population to Calheta or other islands will only be activated if necessary.

About 8,400 people live on São Jorge, one of the nine islands in the Azores archipelago.

The archipelago activated its contingency plan. Jose Manuel Bolero, president of the Azores, visited the island this morning and said “everything is ready to evacuate people”. The government is also trying to increase the number of commercial flights to and from the island.

The authorities told residents where to go in case of emergency, and said residents would be notified via social media, local radio station and church bells on the island.



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