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Hundreds evacuate low-lying areas near base of Montserrat volcano

Breaking Volcanic News Alert: Montserrat, Southern Caribbean
AP - 1/4/2007 5:58 AM
OLVESTON, Montserrat (AP) _ Hundreds of people living at the base of Montserrat's Soufriere Hills volcano evacuated as a lava dome grew to dangerous levels in the British Caribbean island.
Scientists say that the dome could crumble and send blistering gas and volcanic debris down the slopes of the volcano, potentially destroying homes in the low-lying Belham Valley.
``Residents in these areas are advised not to panic and to start preparations for moving to safe area,'' Chief Minister Lowell Lewis said after the first siren sounded Wednesday.

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