Volcanic eruption prompts evacuations in Chile




Around 6,400 people were forced to leave their homes on Friday, as Chile’s ‘Calbuco volcano’ erupted after 42 years, in Santiago.

2,000 people from three towns in the Los Lagos region left their homes as authorities announced the need for immediate evacuation. Another 4,400 have been displaced over the past two days.

Technicians from the National Geology and Mining Service, known as Sernageomin, detected the flow of lava and water on the Rio Correntoso side of the volcano that could cause the river to overflow and flood the nearby populated areas.

The Interior Minister Rodrigo Peñailillo said, “The evacuees will be temporarily lodged in three schools that have been fitted out as shelters in the neighboring city of Puerto Montt.”

The President Michelle Bachelet said that the Interior Minister will visit the affected area today, and stay there as long as it is required to coordinate the emergency measures and provide help to the local population.

“It cannot be disregarded that in the coming hours we could have a new eruption, probably not at the same energy level as those we’ve had, but we maintain a red alert in a complex situation,” said the director of Sernageomin, Rodrigo Alvarez.

Over the past few hours there have been some 1,600 seismic movements due to the activity of the volcano, which rises 2,015 meters above sea level, reported the officials.

“The presence of lava in the Rio Correntoso indicates an immediate risk of overflowing and the flooding of populated areas,” said the Los Lagos Governor, Nofal Abud.

Bachelet travelled on Thursday to the affected area to see the impact of the volcanic ash on agriculture and livestock, and to visit the displaced people.