Volcano spits fire, thousands evacuated in Chile

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Santiago: Southern Chile’s Calbuco volcano has erupted for the second time on Thursday, after being dormant for nearly half a century, officials said.
The first eruption on Wednesday sent a thick plume of ash and smoke several kilometres into the sky, local television images showed.

Chile’s Onemi emergency office declared a red alert following that eruption, which occurred about 1,000km south of the capital Santiago near the tourist town of Puerto Varas. The area is sparsely populated, with only a few small communities.

Video footage of the first eruption, which occurred at around 6pm local time (21:00 GMT), showed a spectacular mushroom-shaped cloud of ash and smoke, that turned red as the sun went down.

About 4,000 people had evacuated from the area and an evacuation radius of 20km 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 keep order.

He added that water was being sent to the area, as it was unclear how much ash may have fallen and contaminated water supplies. Later, Penailillo said there had been no reports of deaths, missing persons or injuries.

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