Nicaragua volcano erupts with toxic ash clouds

First Posted: Dec 27, 2012 12:30 PM EST

Nicaragua's biggest volcano San Cristobal is erupting right now, but not in an explosive way. Only a rather small area around the volcano is potentially threatened, and the government declared a yellow alert for an area of 5 sqare kilometers around the volcano. Still, many villagers have been ordered to evacuate their homes while toxic clouds of ash are spewed into the sky.
But of the around 300 families living near the volcano who should leave the area, many have refused to leave their homes, according to reports.
Euronews quoted Azucena Plazaola, a local resident: "For us in the community this is normal, we watch this all the time. We've come now to show it to this child, who is nervous about the ash."

"We have some families who have self-evacuated. We ask [the people] to go to a safe place for a few days during this emergency," government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said.
Murillo said that 15 minor eruptions had been reported and that the volcano activity was categorized as "unstable".

San Cristobal is about 137 kilometers north of Nicaragua's capital of Managua. It is one of the country's seven active volcanoes and last erupted in September, killing livestock. The 1,745 meter high volcano first erupted in the year 1685 and has shown increased signs of activity in recent years. 

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