110 families evacuated in Ecuador eruption

August 21, 2012
Ash and steam billow from the Tungurahua volcano, seen from Huambalo, Ecuador, early Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

(AP) — Ecuadorean authorities say 110 families have been evacuated from the vicinity of the Tungurahua volcano, which has been spewing molten rock, ash and lava since the weekend.

Spokeswoman Mercedes Taipe of 's Geophysics Institute says a column of vapor and ash up to 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) high has characterized the moderate-to-strong .

She said Tuesday that a half-dozen villages are being showered in . She had no immediate estimate on economic damage to local farming.

Lava erupts from the Tungurahua volcano, seen from Huambalo, Ecuador, early Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

The 16,48-foot (5,023-meter) volcano 84 miles (135 kilometers) southeast of Quito has been active since 1999.

In July and August of 2006 eruptions of Tungurahua killed at least four people, left two missing and forced the evacuation of thousands.

Ash and steam billow from the Tungurahua volcano, seen from Huambalo, Ecuador, as the sun rises early Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

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