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By Alison Ward

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, June 16) - What to do in case of a terrorist attack in the region or the next time the Anatahan volcano spews ash to its neighboring islands were a couple of issues discussed during a meeting yesterday for regional mayors.

The Association of Mariana Islands' Mayors, Vice Mayors and Elected Municipal Council Members met for its annual assembly to discuss important issues affecting Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The two-day conference, being held at the Outrigger Guam Resort in Tumon, is scheduled to wrap up today.

Among the topics discussed yesterday was how officials can better respond after the volcanic eruptions at Anatahan, an active volcano located about 200 miles north of Guam. In the past several months, the volcano has had several major eruptions, spewing ash thousands of feet into the air, which is carried by winds to surrounding islands.

The volcanic ash has harmful effects on the environment and can cause breathing problems for residents. The eruptions can potentially produce tidal waves, as well, according to a presentation by the CNMI Emergency Management Office.

The Emergency Management Office, in conjunction with the U.S. Geological Survey, have sent a proposal to Congress to provide funding for the installation of seismic-reading and communication equipment to the Northern Mariana Islands, to better warn residents there.

Rudolfo Dua, EMO director for Saipan, said it would cost about US$1.9 million for the first year to enact the proposal.

June 17, 2005

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