RADHICA DE SILVA
Senior geoscientist Xavier Moonan is advising citizens not to venture near the Piparo mud volcano as drone surveys indicate it is about to blow.
Moonan and his team toured the volcano on Sunday morning, hours after residents reported seeing fissures and cracks around the area. Several homes suffered extensive damage.
"We just drone surveyed the mud volcano. We should advise people to not venture onto it at least. It looks like it may blow very soon. We are seeing up to two feet of motion on some fractures," he said.
In May, the geoscientist reported interesting changes on the surface and subsurface of the volcanic vents which erupted on February 22, 1997, displacing 31 families and killing livestock and birds.
During the eruption, thick warm liquid mud spewed up to 200 feet in the air. The expanse of volcanic dirt-covered an area of 2.5 km.
Moonan said it was the first mud volcano eruption in the world which resulted in the displacement of lives and damage to infrastructure.
Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation Henry Awong said in a recent interview that they are continuing to monitor the volcano and have put systems in place in the event of an eruption. However, he noted that the corporation cannot respond directly because of limited resources.
"We have other responsible agencies which can assist in that operation, " Awong said.
In the past few months, the Piparo Community Emergency Response Team has been getting residents prepared if the volcano blows.