Free Press Journal

Thousands evacuated as Chile volcano erupts


Santiago :  About 4,000 people were evacuated after the Calbuco volcano in Chile erupted for the first time in more than four decades, a media report said on Thursday. The eruption on Wednesday sent a thick plume of ash and smoke several kilometres into the sky, television images showed, Al Jazeera reported, according to IANS.

Chile’s Onemi emergency office declared a red alert following the eruption, which occurred about 1,000 km south of the capital Santiago near the tourist town of Puerto Varas.

Video footage of the first eruption that occurred late in the evening, showed a mushroom-shaped cloud of ash and smoke, that turned red as the sun went down. An evacuation radius of 20 km has been established, authorities said.

Chile’s Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo gave a televised address after the volcano erupted, calling for calm. Penailillo said the military was being sent into Llanquihue province to help evacuate people and maintain order. Calbuco had last erupted in 1972. Chile, lies on the Pacific ‘Rim of Fire’ and it has 500 volcanos with at least 123 active.