ECUADOR DIGESTTungurahua erupts again; tourists and residents warned

Mar 10, 2013

Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano spewed ash and pyroclastic material into the air on Sunday, indicating some intensification since the latest eruption began Saturday morning.

Significant ashfall was reported in the villages of Choglontús and El Manzano according to Daniel Pacheco, a scientist monitoring the volcano for Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute.

Pacheo noted that there have been a number of explosions that have been heard for 20 miles around the volcano. “There have been large boulders expelled from the crater during the explosions. These can weigh as much as a ton and they roll down the sides of the mountain and can be a danger for anyone living below,” he said.

Javier Mayorga, the head of the "risk unit" for the nearby municipality of Baños del Agua Santa, said that access to the area around the volcano had been restricted to ensure the safety of those in the area.

"We have determined sites from where we can see the volcano. We have searched for safe look-out sites because in the areas where there is greatest visibility towards the volcano, we cannot guarantee the safety of visitors. That is why we have restricted access to the volcano," he said.

Local media reported Saturday that ash was reaching 1.24 miles into the sky.

Tungurahua is a towering 16,480 feet high and lies some 80 miles south of Quito and 120 miles north of Cuenca.

In December, the town of Banos de Agua Santa was covered in a thick layer of volcanic ash, forcing authorities to encourage local residents to evacuate the area.

Tungurahua, which means "Throat of Fire" in the local Quechua language, has been classified as active since 1999, and produced a strong eruption in 2008. It is one of Ecuador's eight active volcanoes.

Correa vetoes bill that would have controlled rents

President Rafael Correa has vetoed a bill passed by the national assembly that would have regulated rental costs and required landlords to turn deposit money over to the government for safe keeping.

Correa said the bill was not fair for either tenants and landlords and that the government should not be in the business of holding rental money. “The bill as it is written is a monstrosity that will have a negative effect on the rental market,” he said during his weekly town meeting broadcast Saturday. “The bill is simply bad for business and will hurt people who depend on rental income.”

Under Ecuadorian law, the assembly cannot resubmit a revised law for a year although the president is allowed to submit his own at any time.

Cuenca real agents said that even had the bill been signed into law, it would have had a minimal effect on expat rentals.

Photo caption: Tungurahua on Saturday night. 

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