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El Salvador evacuated

Published: 8:28AM Sunday October 02, 2005 Source: One News

Authorities evacuated hundreds of people living on the slopes of a volcano in western El Salvador on Saturday after it spat large rocks and ash from its crater during an early morning explosion.
   
El Salvador's geological study center said the Ilamatepec volcano, also known as Santa Ana, spat heavy rocks as far as 1.6km from its crater.

The government issued a red alert to nearby villages but no injuries were reported.
   
Mauricio Cromeyer, who owns a house near the volcano, told Reuters by phone that rocks about a metre wide were falling around his property.
   
Situated in a major coffee-growing area 64 km west of San Salvador, Ilamatepec, the largest of the country's 23 volcanoes, has been increasingly active since July 2004 but has not erupted since 1904.
   
There were no immediate reports of damage to coffee crops.