Philippine volcano blast prompts hundreds to flee

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 21, 2011 06:46

 
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MANILA, Philippines— Hundreds of villagers fled to safety Monday after a restive volcano belched ash and smoke into the sky after a month-long lull, officials said.

Despite Mount Bulusan's ash explosion, its 13th since November, there were no signs of an imminent eruption involving magma pushing out of the cone, said government chief volcanologist Renato Solidum.

The huge plume of grayish smoke shot up to more than a mile (2 kilometers) toward the blue sky, with the ash drifting southwest toward four farming towns in Sorsogon province, where about 1,200 villagers fled to emergency shelters and houses of relatives, said Benito Ramos, who heads the government's disaster-response agency.

Army trucks helped villagers move from communities hit by the ashfall and emergency teams handed out protective masks, Ramos said.

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