November 23, 2014 / 5:10 PM / 4 years ago

Cape Verde orders evacuation after Fogo volcano erupts

PRAIA (Reuters) - A volcano in the Cape Verde archipelago off the coast of West Africa erupted on Sunday morning, the prime minister said, calling for residents to evacuate.

A photograph posted on the local RTC TV station website showed a huge plume of smoke rising into the sky, visible from the capital Praia on a neighbouring island.

“Things could deteriorate in the coming moments, in the coming hours,” Jose Maria Neves in a statement on the government website.

“We’ve called on people to heed the authorities’ instructions. People should abandon Cha das Caldeiras,” he said referring to a hillside community.

It was not immediately clear if there were injuries or deaths following the eruption. The volcano last erupted in 1995, causing minor damage. A larger eruption occurred in 1951.

The government planned to send a plane providing assistance to residents, Neves added.

The former Portuguese colony is located about 600 km (400 miles) off the coast of Senegal. Fogo’s volcanic peak, surrounded by vineyards, is a hiking destination.

Writing by Emma Farge; Additional reporting by Andrei Khalip in Lisbon; editing by Andrew Roche

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