Residents in a designated red zone have to leave home between 11pm and 6am local time due to the risks posed by increased activity at La Fossa crater. The move comes a month after the civil protection agency updated the alert level to “significant” and days after Italy’s National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology warned of “abnormally high” levels of carbon dioxide at the crater.
The mayor of the island which is off Sicily, Marco Giorgianni, has also banned tourists as a safety precaution.
Grants to help people forced to find shelter are due to be provided.
Mayor Giorgianni, explaining the measure, said it was necessary because people would not be able to detect the risks posed by the island’s volcano while they were asleep.
About 250 islanders from the port area of the island have been asked to move to locations considered safe by the authorities, though life continues during the day in the port with shops and bars remaining open.
Italy 24 News reports that tourists cannot disembark for 30 days though commuters can still do so.
The numbers of Carabiniere have been boosted on the island in a bid to prevent looting.
Gases released by the volcano mean oxygen levels on Vulcano could drop, potentially causing breathing difficulties.
Carbon dioxide levels have reportedly risen from a normal level of 80 tonnes to around 480 tonnes, according to volcanologists.
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“Due to our state of semi-unconsciousness, it is advisable for the islanders living in that area to go to sleep in a safer place.
“But always on the same island. Therefore, it is not an evacuation, but a transfer. An absolutely prudential activity.”
Commissioner Massimo D’Auria said nobody would be forced to leave the island, pledging there was space in “the safe area” of Vulcano for everyone.
He added that 15 families had left the island independently as of November 19.
La Repubblica reports him predicting most people will remain in Vulcano while about thirty will move.