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YEMEN: Red Sea volcano threatens nearby farmland

Breaking Earth News
Yemen/ Red Sea
SANAA, 17 January 2008 (IRIN) - The Environmental Emergencies Department (EMD) at Yemen’s Ministry of Water has warned that the volcano on Jabal al-Tair, a tiny island in the Red Sea close to the Yemeni coast, might cause environmental damage to nearby areas. The warning comes after continuous volcanic eruptions on the island since December 2007.

Abdul-Khaleq al-Ghaberi, general manager of EMD, told IRIN that emissions - mainly sulphur dioxide 2 (SO2) and 3 (SO3) - from the volcano could lead to acid rain. "If the wind takes such emissions to nearby areas, the acid rain will destroy agricultural fields and cause water pollution," he said.

The threatened areas include Tehama, a huge agricultural region in the western province of al-Hudeidah, about 70km from the island.

The volcano has not cooled since it erupted on 30 September 2007. Serious eruptions, accompanied by lava flows, occurred again on 3 December and geologists say the eruptions could continue for a long time. A military garrison on Lesser Hunaish island, close to Jabal al-Tair, has not been allowed to return after it was evacuated on 3 December.
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