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About 1,000 people living in the east and south of Montserrat around an increasingly active volcano fled Monday to the island's north end, where authorities set up tent camps.

Hundreds of cars lined up for gasoline before heading to the northern part of the 7-by-11-mile island formed by ancient volcanoes. The British territory's government had urged residents in radio broadcasts to leave their homes.Caribbean scientists monitoring the volcano with help from French and U.S. volcanologists telephoned the governor and chief minister at 3 a.m. to urge the evacuations "as a precautionary measure," Chief Minister Reuben Meade said.

Meade also urged the rest of the island's 10,000 residents in radio broadcasts to pack bags and be ready to go. About 3,500 people live in Plymouth.