The Portuguese Meteorological Institute (IPMA) released a statement stating that since March 19, the agency has recorded more than 1,300 earthquakes on the volcanic island of Sao Jorge, of which people can feel more than 100. earthquake. Geological activity along the Manadas volcanic fissure may be related to an increase in magma on this volcanic island. So far the earthquake has not caused any damage.
In an interview with the Publico daily, the director of the CIVISA Volcanic Survey Center of the Azores Islands, Rui Marques, said that the people on the island are facing “a seismic-volcanic crisis” and cannot be ruled out. except for the risk of a major earthquake or a volcanic eruption. Marques added that although it is rare for a volcano to erupt on Sao Jorge Island, there have been at least two occasions when this phenomenon occurs in 1580 and 1808.
According to officials from the Civil Protection Agency of the Azores region, CIVISA has raised the volcano alert to level 4 on a 5-level warning scale, meaning “there is a real possibility of volcanic eruption”. The Civil Protection Agency is also preparing for the worst-case scenario.
On Twitter, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced that he is in regular contact with the head of the Azores regional government, Mr. Jose Manuel Boilero, to monitor and update the situation. In addition, the government is deploying all necessary resources to be ready to respond to any situation.
The head of the municipality of Velas on the island, Luis Silveira, said that patients in the hospital or those living in nursing homes in the municipality are being transferred to the Calheta area on the island. Plans to evacuate the remaining populations on the island to Calheta or to other islands will also be activated if necessary. The army and air force are also prepared in case people need to evacuate. Meanwhile, the Portuguese Red Cross is sending more individual beds to the island.
Sao Jorge Island has about 8,000 people living, is one of 9 islands in the Azores archipelago, more than 1,600 km from the mainland of Portugal. This island is nearly 54 km long and 8 km wide, forming a volcanic range over 1,000m long.
The last time a strong earthquake occurred on the Azores Islands was on January 1, 1980, with a magnitude of 6.9. The earthquake killed 61 people, injured 300 and destroyed thousands of homes on the Azores Islands.
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