Chile Evacuates Residents as Southern Volcano Ash Cloud Grows
Authorities evacuated 128 people from their homes in a remote part of southern Chile as activity at the Hudson volcano intensified, with steam and ash spewing from three fissures.
A red alert has been declared in the area, which is about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the $3.2 billion HidroAysen hydroelectric project, the government emergency service, known as Onemi, said on its website. There is a low probability the volcano would affect the area where the dams will be built, HidroAysen said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
An eruption would be the first at the volcano in two decades and would follow explosions at southern Chile’s Puyehue- Cordon Caulle volcanic complex that disrupted air travel as far away as Australia this year. Authorities have detected four or five quakes in the area of the volcano every hour, according to Onemi.
“Volcanic activity has increased,” Deputy Mining Minister Pablo Wagner said in the Onemi statement. “The eruptive column is being emitted from three craters, which probably could mean an increase in the amount of ash.”
Empresa Nacional de Electricidad SA and Colbun SA have yet to start work on the HidroAysen project, which will generate 2,750 megawatts, equivalent to about one-quarter of the central power grid’s capacity. The volcano could blow ash into the Baker River, one of two that would be dammed for the project, according to a 2007 document.
To contact the reporter on this story: Randall Woods in Santiago at email@example.com.
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