Officials want state of emergency after 13th eruption this year
Catania, April 4 – Etna has roared and spewed ash for the 13th time this year, spurring the mayors of the towns in its lee to call for “urgent” government action. “A few snowflakes in Rome get everyone going while we’ve been having to put up with these ash showers for years,” said Santa Venerina Mayor Enrico Pappalardo. The latest eruption again caused window panes to rattle, made breathing difficult, blocked manholes and hurt crops in and around the dozen towns under Europe’s tallest active volcano. “We want a state of emergency to be declared,” said the mayors in a joint statement. Etna burst back into life Wednesday afternoon but calmed down early Thursday, scientists at the National Institute of Geophysics Volcanology (INGV) in the nearby Sicilian city of Catania said. “The intense Strombolian activity from the south-east crater, with thunderous noise and the launch of pyroclastic material which fell back into the cone of the volcano, lasted from late afternoon Wednesday until 06:35 Thursday,” the INGV said. “Tremors in the internal conduits, which indicate magma rising, have returned to normal”. Etna saw nine “eruptive events” last year. Its last full-blown eruption came a year ago when it belched out a plume of smoke that caused the temporary closure of Catania Airport. Scientists at the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology recorded 18 eruptions of Etna in 2011.