05 Jun '11, 12am

Chilean volcano erupts, forces mass evacuations #Puyehue volcano | Over 3,500 evacuated.

Chilean volcano erupts, forces mass evacuations #Puyehue volcano | Over 3,500 evacuated.

Smoke and ash billowing from Puyehue volcano is seen near Osorno city in southern Chile. -- PHOTO: REUTERS SANTIAGO - Southern Chile's Puyehue volcano erupted for the first time in half a century on Saturday, prompting evacuation orders for 3,500 people as it sent smoke billowing into the sky, authorities said. The National Service of Geology and Mining said the explosion that sparked the eruption also produced a column of gas 10km high, hours after warning of strong seismic activity in the area. 'You can see the fire (in the volcano) and a plume of smoke, and there's a strong smell of sulfur,' top Los Rios region official Juan Andres Varas told reporters. The government, which earlier ordered the evacuation of 600 people, expanded that number to 3,500 people to be relocated to shelters in safe areas. Authorities issued a red alert, the maximum warning level, for the area....

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/World/Story/STIS...

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