Village on Spanish island to be evacuated over volcano

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Officials on Spain's El Hierro island in the Canaries on Tuesday said residents of one village will be evacuated over fears that an underwater volcanic eruption could threaten the island's coast.

The authorities previously said the eruption, some five kilometres (three miles) from the island at a depth of more than 500 metres (1,500 feet), would not be felt on the island.

"Facing a change in the seismic event that is affecting El Hierro island, and as a preventative measure, we are carrying out the relocation of the population of La Restinga," a local government spokesman said in a statement.

Village residents will likely be transferred to a football field further inland, the spokesman said.

La Restina, a village of roughly 5,00 people, is the closest island point to centre of the volcano.

The regional government of the archipelago on Monday issued a "yellow" volcanic eruption alert -- the second level on a scale of four -- after the island was hit by a 4.3-magnitude quake.

El Hierro, which means iron in Spanish, is the smallest of Spain's Canary Islands, located in the Atlantic off the coast of Morocco. It is home to some 11,000 people.

The last volcanic eruption on the Canary Islands was on nearby La Palma in 1971.

© 2011 AFP

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