Chilean Volcano Erupts; Authorities Declare Alert (Update1)
By Robin Stringer
Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- A volcano erupted in southern Chile, prompting authorities to declare a ``yellow alert'' and to evacuate at least 150 people from a national park.
The Llaima volcano erupted in the southern Araucania region late yesterday, emitting clouds of grey smoke around the site, Chile's Emergency Bureau said on its Web site.
Authorities evacuated 150 tourists and all staff from the Conguillio National Park. Lava from the volcano reached some 300 meters above the crater and covered about 600 meters of hillside east of the Andean mountains, the bureau said.
About a thousand residents fled the nearby town of Melipeuco, Chile's El Mercurio newspaper reported.
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Chilean Volcano Erupts, Forcing Evacuation of Park (Update2)
By Michael Smith and James Attwood
Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- A volcano erupted in southern Chile, spewing lava and ash thousands of meters into the sky and forcing the evacuation of at least 150 people from a national park.
The Llaima volcano erupted in the southern Araucania region late yesterday, sending lava down the mountain and creating a 20- kilometer-long (12.4-mile-long) plume of ash-laden smoke, Chile's Emergency Bureau and eyewitnesses said. Red lava gushed out of the conical, snow-capped peak today and smoke billowed into the air, images broadcast by Chilean Television Nacional showed.
``It's like the most amazing fireworks show you can imagine, but it's scary too,'' Carlos Melillan, 50, who owns a small hotel in Melipeuco 50 kilometers from the volcano, said in a telephone interview. ``The big fear that we have is that it will explode.''
Lava shot 300 meters into the air above the crater and flowed 600 meters down the side of the volcano, the bureau said. Authorities evacuated 150 tourists and all staff from the Conguillio National Park.
Some farmers near the volcano also fled, and emergency officials are concerned that melting snow could send a nearby river over its banks, Jose Abumohor, a spokesman for the emergency bureau, said in an interview. About a thousand residents fled the nearby town of Melipeuco, Chile's El Mercurio newspaper reported.
``The river could burst out of its banks and cause flooding,'' Abumohor said.
Nearby residents increased purchases of gasoline and candles, Megavision television reported. No people or livestock have been injured by the eruption, Chilean Interior Minister Belisario Velasco said in comments broadcast by Megavision.
``There are no problems at the moment,'' Velasco said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Smith in Santiago at firstname.lastname@example.org