Are there any risks for holidaymakers?

Are there any risks for holidaymakers?
Are there any risks for holidaymakers?

Two Italian volcanoes, Mount Etna and Stromboli, erupted on Friday. The event, which slightly disrupted air travel, does not pose a significant risk to residents or tourists, according to atmospheric physicist Cathy Clerbaux.

The images are impressive. Etna and Stromboli, two particularly active Italian volcanoes, erupted simultaneously this Friday, July 5. The authorities were forced to suspend flights scheduled at Catania airport for a few hours. The runways have been cleared and aircraft traffic is gradually resuming, the airport management company reported on X.

Photos posted on social media by people on the scene show streets covered in thick layers of black ash that have significantly slowed traffic. While no evacuation has been ordered, is inhaling the ash residue a danger? Interviewed by BFMTV, atmospheric physicist Cathy Clerbaux believes that there is no major risk if you keep your distance.

“It’s not dangerous, unless you’re really close to it.”

Known for their activity, Etna and Stromboli erupt frequently. The first, ranked as the first active volcano in Europe, dominates Sicily and peaks at nearly 3,357 meters high. The second, whose summit of 924 meters is much lower, is just as famous.

The ash plumes, however, do not pose any danger to people present on site, as long as they respect the safety zone. Those from Etna reached a height of 4.5 kilometres, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV).

“It’s especially annoying for aviation. Residents and tourists must not breathe the toxic gases, but there is an alert perimeter which means that tourists are not allowed to get too close to the two volcanoes. So it’s not dangerous, unless you’re really close to them,” explains Cathy Clerbaux, atmospheric physicist to BFMTV.

The guides resume the climbs

Even though the eruptions are over, the specialist advises tourists not to approach the two volcanoes. “We will have emissions of gas and ash for a few days, but it never lasts very long,” she warns.

For their part, the guides have already resumed the climbs, as Antonio Reina, a specialist guide on Etna, explained to BFMTV.

“There is no longer an eruption at the moment, it is over. We can continue to go to the summit without danger,” he says, specifying that it is however necessary to be accompanied by a guide.

He describes a climb that is physically quite accessible but can nevertheless be “difficult” due to the “volcanic gases which are irritating”.

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