Sao Jorge in Portugal’s Azores is preparing for what could turn out to be a major natural catastrophe.

In the mid-Atlantic, thousands of small earthquakes have rattled the island in recent days. There are fears that the more then 10,000 earthquakes since Saturday could cause a volcanic eruption or a strong quake.

The population has felt approximately 200 earthquakes with magnitudes up to 3.3.

Filipe Azevedo, a hotel owner, is anxiously waiting to board a plane back to the volcanic island in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic.

Azevedo, 42, said that “we are all very anxious” at the airport gate of Sao Miguel, Azores largest island. It is just a short flight from Sao Jorge. “It’s a phenomenon for the which we aren’t prepared…we all are very scared. “about:blank

Azevedo worries that the uncertainty could harm his hotel business, which is still recovering after the COVID-19 impact.

He said that the hotel was empty and would remain so. “Everyone is cancelling.”

The volcano could erupt for only the second time since 1808.

CIVISA’s seismo–volcanic surveillance center raised the volcanic alert level to Level 4 Wednesday. This means that there is a “real chance” that the volcano could erupt, for the first time since 1808.

Sao Jorge, home to approximately 8,400 people, is one of the Azores’ least populated islands.

Authorities have stated that the emergency plan for the region has been activated and that all are prepared to evacuate residents if necessary.

PEDRO NUNES/REUTERS

Authorities advise people to “keep calm”

Calheta has been given the transfer of dozens of residents of nursing homes and hospitalized in Sao Jorge’s Velas municipalities, who are likely to be the most vulnerable.

People living in Velas on so-called “fajas”, small plains at bottom of cliffs that were originally formed by lava and landslides, were told to leave.

Late Friday, Velas mayor Luis Silveira stated that “We are experiencing moments of anguish and some fear.” “We have been asking people for calm, but it is getting harder.”

Silveira stated that there is no immediate need to evacuate all residents, but many people have already left the island according to their own schedules. According to local government figures, around 1,250 people have left Sao Jorge via air or sea within the past two days.

I am scared to death for everyone, not only for me but also for all who live there.

PEDRO NUNES/REUTERS

Brazilian Kelly Fonseca was also one of them.

“I’m scared of death, not only for myself, but for everyone else who lives there,” said Fonseca, 41, a restaurant worker who came to the Azores to seek a better life. “It’s hard.”

Some locals are less concerned.

Luis Mendonca (52), said that he would only leave his house “as a last resort” at Velas’ local pharmacy, which is still open. It’s not as if they will touch a button, and the bomb will go off. It will develop slowly.

CIVISA stated that there is no evidence of a volcano eruption imminent, but it did not rule out the possibility.