Two-year-old boy dies amid heavy volcanic ash fall in Philippines

02/24/2011 - Manila - A 2-year-old boy has died from an asthma attack amid heavy volcanic ash fall in the eastern Philippines, the civil defence office said Thursday.

The boy was suffering from acute asthma, which was aggravated by falling ash from Mount Bulusan Volcano in Sorsogon province, 250 kilometres south-east of Manila.

Fallout from two ash explosions at Mount Bulusan on Monday reached more than 100,000 people, and forced at least 2,000 residents across three towns to flee their homes.

The ash fall reached as far as San Jacinto town in nearby Masbate province, 45 kilometres west of Mount Bulusan.

Civil defence and health workers distributed thousands of dust masks to residents in the affected areas to help prevent respiratory problems from the ash fall.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said Mount Bulusan has quietened down since the ash explosions.

The institute only recorded seven volcanic earthquakes and observed weak steaming during the past 24 hours.

Despite the decline in volcanic activity, scientists warned residents against sudden steam and ash explosions.

Mount Bulusan is one of the country's 23 active volcanoes. Its last eruption was in 2006, when no one was hurt. (m&c news)

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