VOLCANO ERUPTS NEAR EYJAFJALLAJOEKULL IN SOUTH ICELAND
Several hundred people have been evacuated from their homes, as a volcano erupted in southern Iceland.
The volcano near the Eyjafjallajoekull glacier began to erupt shortly after midnight, leading to road closures in the area.
No one was in immediate danger, but 500 people were being moved from the area, a civil protection officer said.
It is almost 200 years since a volcano near Eyjafjallajoekull, 120km (75 miles) east of Reykjavik, last erupted.
“We estimate that no one is in danger in the area but we have started an evacuation plan and between 500 and 600 people are being evacuated,” Sigurgeir Gudmundsson of the Icelandic civil protections department told the Agence France-Presse news agency.
There are fears that the volcano could cause flooding, as it causes ice to melt on the glacier above it.
“Ash has already begun to fall in Fljotshlid and people in the surrounding area have reported seeing bright lights emanating from the glacier,” RUV public radio said on its website.
“It was a bit scary, but still amazing to see,” Katrin Moller Eiriksdottir, who lives in Fljotshlid, told the BBC News website.
“The ash had started falling and we couldn't leave the car. They have now closed the road but we'll see what happens in the morning.”
Three Icelandair flights, bound for Reykjavik from the United States, have been ordered to return to Boston, RUV radio reported, and much of Icelandic air space is a no-fly zone.
The last volcanic eruption in the area occurred in 1821.