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Tuesday 12 November 2019
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ODPM prepares for Piparo volcano to erupt

A villager steps in for a closer look at  the mud volcano in Piparo on September 23. PHOTO BY MARVIN HAMILTON
A villager steps in for a closer look at the mud volcano in Piparo on September 23. PHOTO BY MARVIN HAMILTON

HEIGHTENED seismic activity at the Piparo mud volcano has prompted geoscientist Xavier Moonan to warn residents to keep their distance.

Recent drone topography tests, he told Newsday yesterday, showed significant changes since the last surveys ten days ago.

On Thursday, representatives from several agencies met with residents who live around the volcano and spoke to them about a possible eruption and relocation. Moonan, who works with Touchstone Exploration, said, “Bubbles are still (being) observed in fractures and pools in the northern and southwestern areas. Activity at the central vent has noticeably increased over the past week."The volcano last erupted in February 1997.

Last month, residents said it began to "rear its head" again, and reported hearing rumbling at nights, coupled with the pungent odour of sulphuric gas.At the meeting, ODPM CEO retired Maj Gen Rodney Smart told Newsday the agency was working with scientists to determine the best course of action.

"There is an evacuation plan in place, but due to the nature of the problem, it is being constantly revised to ensure the safest route is used," he said.Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation Henry Awong, is hoping more can be done for the people who live in close proximity.He said the imminent threat of an eruption has them nervous, but uppermost in their minds is the extent to which relocation will affect them financially.

Awong said, "There is no genuine effort at the ministry’s level to provide compulsory evacuations for people closest to the volcano."Smart said if it becomes necessary, evacuation will be mandatory and more than likely, he added, “It would be permanent.”The next meeting will be held at Cipriani Trace today at 4 pm.

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