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Hundreds evacuated as Iceland volcano erupts

Hundreds of people have been evacuated after a volcano erupted beside a glacier in southern Iceland.

The eruption occurred on Saturday night beside the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, the fifth largest in Iceland. No damage or injuries were immediately reported.

Authorities initially said the eruption was below the glacier. However, scientists conducting an aerial survey in daylight located the eruption and it did not occur below ice, lessening the chances of flooding from a glacier melt.

Scientists can see lava flows in the half-mile long fissure, and authorities are watching for further activity. Fearing flooding, authorities evacuated some 450 people in the area 100 miles southeast of the capital, Reykjavik, as a precaution but no damage or injuries have been reported, said Vidir Reynisson, manager for the Icelandic Civil Protection Department.

A state of emergency has been declared in communities near the 100 sq m glacier.

Three Red Cross centres were set up for evacuees in the village of Hella.

The Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration has ordered aircraft to stay 120 nautical miles away from the volcano area, essentially closing it off.

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