Hundreds evacuated in volcanic alarm on Vulcano island

The island of Vulcano, named after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire

 MESSINA -- The mayor of Vulcano in the Aeolian Islands, Marco Giorgianni, has ordered a partial evacuation of the port area and closed the island to tourists for 30 days due to an increase in volcanic activity in the last few days, with the main risk to people and animals being the noxious gases emitted from the crater, island authorities said.

 Some 250 people living in ground floor accommodation in the port area, now deemed a ‘red zone,’ are moving to stay with relatives, friends or in temporary lodging until the carbon dioxide and sulphur fumes have stopped. Those who live on the higher floors of multi-storey houses are considered safe to stay.

 Though the island, located off the coast of Sicily, will be closed to tourists for the next month, commuters will be allowed to go to and from work.

 “The numbers are stable and, in some cases, decreasing,” said the mayor, expressing optimism. “Within the month, thanks to the great cooperation of the National Volcanology Institute, Civil Protection, the Major Risks Commission and Asp we hope to get out of the situation.”.

 "We hope to get out of this situation soon,” said parish priest Lio Raffaele. “Of course, people are worried. But we know well that we live and coexist on a volcanic island, which has already triggered these phenomena in the recent past.”

 Emanuele Carnevale, a local engineer, said "the activity of the crater in recent weeks worries us, but I believe that our volcano will not betray us this time either.”