Molten rock from a thundering volcano threatens to engulf several villages in Cape Verde – days after its initial eruption.
The active volcano, Pico do Fogo, is the archipelago’s highest peak on its most prominent island: Fogo, which means fire.
It burst open on November 23 for the first time since 1995 and has continued to erupt – prompting government officials to call for an emergency meeting with U.N. representatives and aid agencies, according to local reports.
Cape Verdean Prime Minister Jose Maria Neves addressed the escalating volcanic activity while visiting Fogo on Thursday.
"In the last few hours, there was an increase in volcanic activity and the lava is flowing towards Portela and this community may be completely engulfed by lava," he said, Reuters reported. "The potential is for the total destruction of Cha das Caldeiras, one of the most fertile regions of Cape Verde.”
Neves called upon the international community to help the former Portuguese colony – about 400 miles off the coast of Senegal – with the seismic activity.
Fogo News said he also praised local authorities for their swift response and cooperation with organizations like the Red Cross to protect civilians.
A gigantic lake of black lava could be seen a few feet from homes in the village of Portela and the 1,200 residents of Cha das Caldeiras fled for emergency shelters, reported Jornal de Notícias.
This was Pico do Fogo’s largest eruption since 1951.
Witnesses have been shooting videos of the continuing eruptions.