Chile’s Calbuco Volcano Erupts, Forcing Evacuation of 4,000 Residents
Large cloud of ash spews from volcano near Puerto Varas in southern Chile
By Ryan Dube in the Wall Street Journal
A volcano in southern Chile erupted on Wednesday, forcing the government to declare a “red alert” as it evacuated residents from nearby communities.
President Michelle Bachelet said late Wednesday that about 4,000 people were evacuated from towns in the southern region of Los Lagos after the eruption of the Calbuco volcano.
Ms. Bachelet signed a decree allowing the military to assist residents in the area, adding that a security perimeter of about 12 miles had been established around the volcano. The president said she would travel to the zone on Thursday, along with government ministers.
Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupted Wednesday for the first time in 40 years. Around 4000 people were evacuated from towns in the southern region of Los Lagos. Here is a time-lapse video created by Rodrigo Barrera.
Chilean media showed a large cloud of ash spewing from the volcano, located about 6,500 feet above sea level and near the popular tourist town of Puerto Varas. A 22-year-old man who was mountain climbing at the time of the eruption was reported missing, according to Radio Bio Bio.
The eruption of the Calbuco volcano was the second time in less than two months that a volcano has erupted in southern Chile.
In early March, the Villarrica volcano erupted, resulting in the government declaring a state of emergency for the agriculture sector.
The National Geology and Mining Service, or Sernageomin, said the last time the Calbuco volcano erupted was in 1972.
The agency said that Calbuco was listed as the third most dangerous volcano in Chile. Sernageomin says there are 90 active volcanoes in the South American nation.