Awaiting flight to the mid-Atlantic volcanic island he calls home, Portuguese businessman Philippe Azevedo cannot hide his fear. So Jorge, in the Azores, is preparing for a major natural disaster.
The island of Portugal has been hit by thousands of small earthquakes in recent days and there are fears that the more than 2,000 tremors recorded since last Saturday could trigger volcanic eruptions or powerful earthquakes.
“We are all very nervous,” said 42-year-old Azevedo at the airport gate in So Miguel, a short plane ride from So Jorge, the largest island in the Azores. “It’s an event we’re not prepared for… we’re all very scared.”
Azevedo is also concerned that the uncertainty of the situation could harm his owner’s hotel, which is still recovering from the effects of COVID-19.
“It’s empty and will remain empty,” he said of the hotel. “Everyone is canceling.”
The Azores Seismovolcanic Information and Surveillance Center (Civisa) on Wednesday raised the volcano alert to level 4, on a scale of up to 5, meaning there is a “real likelihood” that the volcano will erupt for the first time since 1808.