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» »Unlabelled » Nabro Volcano Eruption Prompts Health Fears

Satellite imagery of the Nabro volcano in Eritrea shows that the eruption is ongoing, although ash and sulphur dioxide emission rates have eased.

NASA’s Aqua satellite flew overhead Monday at 12 P.M. (local time) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument identified dark ash continuing to spew from the stratovolcano, which erupted for the first time in its history more than a week ago.

Ash spewing from the Nabro volcano has covered villages in Ethiopia, affecting at least 5,000 people, aid workers say. The BBC carried reports Monday saying eight villages in the Biddu district of Ethiopia, close to the border, were covered by volcanic dust. Villagers have been left without food and traditional springs and streams have been polluted.

The non Governmental earthquake reporting site Earthuake Report tonight added its voice to growing calls for food, water and other life survival material to be delivered to affected communities along the Eritrea/Ethiopia border.

A website spokesperson said: “We call the UN to act immediately and to use diplomatic pressure towards both governments, so that aid can be allowed in the area or to evacuate the people living near the volcano. The cry for help from people getting sick in the area is mainly originated by the large amounts of sulfur dioxide gas emitted by the volcano. Based on our extensive following of the initial earthquakes and the following eruptions, we are convinced that this aid is necessary in both countries.”

The image shows the volcano sending ash southwest into the skies over northern Ethiopia.

The above MODIS image shows a dark plume from Nabro moving southwest. The image also shows dust, unrelated to Nabro, being blown over the Gulf of Aden from northern Somalia
The above MODIS image shows a dark plume from Nabro moving southwest. The image also shows dust, unrelated to Nabro, being blown over the Gulf of Aden from northern Somalia
Close-up view of the erupting volcano
Close-up view of the erupting volcano

Nabro began erupting on Sunday 12 June, 2011, the first ever recorded eruption of the stratovolcano. The resultant ash plume, extending up to 15km into the air, led to some flight cancellations in neighbouring Sudan, Djibouti and Ethiopia. The ash cloud was carried as far away as Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkmenistan, Somalia, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Egypt. A second eruption Thursday sent a massive ash plume westnorthwest over Sudan threatening to bring further disruption to air traffic in the east Africa region. The volcano continued to emit smaller amounts of ash during the weekend.

Part of the Afar Triangle, Nabro is one of many volcanic caldera complexes in the north easternmost part of the East African Rift valley region. The stratovolcano is located in the Danakil Depression, close to Eritrea’s border with Ethiopia and north of Djibouti, and has not erupted in at least 150 years. It is the most prominent of 3 large volcanoes (Nabro, Dubbi, Mallahle) in the region, each containing a large summit caldera. Nabro comprises lava domes, lava flows, and two calderas, 8 and 5 km in diameter.


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