News / Africa

Eritrea Volcano Disrupts East Africa Air Travel

A natural-color image released by NASA shows plumes billowing from Nabro volcano in Eritrea on June 13, 2011
A natural-color image released by NASA shows plumes billowing from Nabro volcano in Eritrea on June 13, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

A volcanic eruption in Eritrea has sent a plume of ash across the Horn of Africa, disrupting airline schedules and sparking health concerns.

Satellite photos show a column of ash rising from the long-dormant Nabro volcano in far southeastern Eritrea, near its border with Ethiopia and the city-state of Djibouti. The eruption is also about 100 kilometers from the coast of Yemen, just across the mouth of the Red Sea.

A photo posted on the website earthobservatory.nasa.gov shows the ash plume spreading westward toward Sudan.

The ash cloud prompted U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to cut short a visit to Ethiopia, where she addressed the African Union Monday. It has also disrupted commercial aviation. Several major airlines cancelled flights to destinations in the region.

Ethiopian Airlines spokesman Getachew Tesfa said Addis Ababa’s Bole airport remains open, and only Ethiopian's flights to northern parts of the country and Djibouti have been cancelled.

"Currently flights are operating from Bole airport. It’s only local destinations and these regional Djibouti, Djibouti the airport is closed because of this, so as soon as they tell us it is clear, then we will continue.  The rest of the flights are still working," Getachew said.

An Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority official says conditions are being constantly monitored to determine flight safety.

Internet bloggers on Tuesday reported that as much as one millimeter of ash dust has accumulated on surfaces at some locations in northern Ethiopia and Djibouti, raising questions about the health risk.

But Dr. Olle Liungman, a Swedish physician in Addis Ababa who has been monitoring the ash cloud’s movement, said the immediate danger from inhaling the dust is minimal.

"As a general attitude toward that cloud, it can be [come] more and it can go up and be much bigger than it is now, but as it is now, it is not a major thing," Liungman said.

The Nabro volcano was thought to have been extinct, but it rumbled to life Sunday night after a serie s of minor earthquakes. The region, known as the Afar Triangle, sits along a geologic fault known as the East African Rift, where the continent is slowly being pulled apart by tectonic plate movements.

Geologists say at its current rate of expansion, the Great Rift Valley will grow into an ocean, splitting Africa in two within a few million years.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid