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Disaster Journal - Entry 5 Tungurahua Volcano Eruption...

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Entry 5 – Tungurahua Volcano Eruption - Mid-April – Present Beginning in mid-April 2011 Ecuador’s Tungurahua Volcano began erupting and has continued on up to this present day. It has sent ash clouds up to altitudes of 38,000 feet as well as hurling large boulders into the surrounding area (Associated Press). The ash and boulders have been falling on surrounding areas including populated areas forcing evacuations which currently are in place for approximately three-hundred people. These evacuations are mainly to prevent any deaths from the pyroclastic boulders which are about the size of a car and have been creating thirty-three foot craters at distances over a mile away from the volcano. The ash showers have also affected tourist destinations nearby the volcano as well as forcing schools closed since April 26 th . The final extent of the eruption has yet to be seen due to Tungurahua’s ongoing eruption however it shows no sign of ceasing at the moment. Right now the immediate effects of the volcano are on those living in the regions surrounding from the ash and boulders falling. The area is fairly rural so the number of people affected is small; however it is also a farming region that could have its land damaged by the ash. This could bring long term suffering to the region due to lowered food production and the economic consequences that follow ultimately will hurt everyone in the area. Another danger comes through the potential of hot ash or a boulder starting a fire damaging the woods or burning down a village. This is something which little can be done to prevent and the only way to fight it is to keep a close watch on the area for smoke. Doing this is not entirely safe though as it requires you to place someone in harm’s way to watch out for the possible fires. The last danger is from the pyroclastic boulders and their potential to kill, which has been shown in the past. For the people living near Tungurahua the dangers of a volcano are fairly new to them. It began its active stage in 1999 and prior to this it had been very peaceful. Since then however there have been several dangerous eruptions including an eruption in 2006 which killed at least 4 individuals (Ochoa). These deaths were from the pyroclastic boulders and if the areas surrounding the volcano had been evacuated earlier they could have been prevented. This is a major lesson learned by those in the areas so for this eruption, which is the largest since 1999, officials are taking few chances in setting evacuations to make sure people stay safe. Another thing which might cause difficulty if the eruption escalates is in its ash plume which reaches up to the levels of commercial air traffic. While Tungurahua is not near major flight paths it is only eighty-five miles from Ecuador’s capital, Quito, and so there’s a possibility that it may affect air travel in and out of the city.
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Works Cited Associated Press. 300 flee as Ecuador volcano hurls out huge rocks . MSNBC, 29 April 2011.
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