Rome: In the early hours of Boxing Day, inhabitants of Catania city were rattled out of their homes as an earthquake, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, shook the region around Mount Etna. Plumes of ash belched into the sky, and the column of smoke could be seen from every direction. This new situation has posed a threat for the tourists and travellers visiting Italy for the holidays.
An active volcano can be more dangerous in the winters as the ice and snow resting on the volcano’s crater, melts and seeps into its throat. The heat turns the melt water into steam and builds the pressure inside of the volcano to such catastrophic levels that a mega-eruption is imminent.
The local civil protection and defence force has already sprung into action as the tremors have severely injured ten people and damaged property in the area. The Catania Airport has been closed, and the Italian government is monitoring the situation. As of right now, the UK has not issued a starkly pessimistic travel advisory to Sicily, but it has hinted that the situation can be potentially troublesome. In case of a massive eruption, rerouting many flights from all over the continent at the end of the holiday season, when millions would want to return to their lives, would become a nightmare for passengers and airport management.
Three million Britons visit Italy every year. Sicily’s beauty, culture and cuisine attract many tourists to the Mediterranean island, in search of some pure relaxation. The dual nature of the Italian Island asserts itself as Mount Etna erupts after every few years. A similar event occurred last year in March and injured 20 people, as the hot stones shot up from the volcano’s mouth and pelted on to the nearby area and quakes jolted weakened buildings.
In the event of an emergency, please call 112 for the local police, 115 for an ambulance and 118 for the fire department. Emergency services are multilingual, so please do not hesitate to call for help. Keep yourself informed with the latest news regarding the eruption of Mount Etna and check if your flight has been rerouted, especially if your plane has to fly through Italian airspace.
TravelhouseUK wishes every citizen of the UK a very safe holiday season. Please continue to check our blog for the latest updates.