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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Peru, State of Emergency near Erupting Volcano

The Ubinas volcano in Moquegua, some 1000 km south of Lima, on April 20, 2006

Peru declares state of emergency near Ubinas volcano

By Rachel Chase

Authorities examine evacuation options.

Peru declares state of emergency near Ubinas volcano
(Photo: Peru21/Heiner Aparicio)
The Peruvian government has declared a 60-day state of emergency in areas close to the Ubinas volcano, located about 70 kilometers outside of Arequipa. Authorities are concerned about the potential effects of volcanic ashes and gas on local villagers and their livestock.
According to Andina news agency, the area covered by the state of emergency are the Moquegua districts of Ubinas, Matalaque, Chojata, Omate, Coalaque, IchuƱa, Lloque, Yunga, and the Arequipa district of San Juan de Tarucani.
Furthermore, Peru21 reports today that the village of Querapi will be permanently relocated within a year. Querapi, a small town populated by about 25 families, has been hit hard by the recent eruptions from Ubinas. As a short-term solution, regional authorities are planning on evacuating the residents of Querapi to a safe-zone before deciding on a permanent relocation plan.
Earlier in the week, El Comercio reported that villagers from Querapi had been experiencing a number of worrying symptoms linked to exposure to volcanic ash and gas, including headaches, stomach pain, and vomiting. Scientists are worried that prolonged exposure to the ash, which is largely made of very fine silica particles, could also lead to dermatitis and ocular health problems.
Authorities are distributing masks and have given themselves a 60-day period to relocate villagers from areas where ash is damaging  and polluting .
The explosions have sent a plume of smoke rising to 2,500 meters (2,734 yards) above the crater, according to volcanologists at the Geophysical Institute of Peru.
The first explosion on the night of September 1 was strong and followed by a series of lesser blasts, seismologist Victor Aguilar of the Geophysical Institute of the University of San Agustin de Arequipa told AFP.
The , in the Moquegua department 1,250 kilometers (776 miles) south of Lima, is the most active in the country.
Peru's Geological, Mining and Metallurgical Institute said the eruption could have been caused by snow accumulating in the crater and preventing normal emissions.
Since 1550, 25 eruptions have been recorded at Ubinas. There are 40 volcanoes in Moquegua and the neighboring regions of Arequipa and Tacna, most of them dormant.

According to Peru21, the Institute of Geology, Mining, and Metallurgy believes that 10 villages near the volcano could be in danger. Scientists are also concerned that any large eruption could cause a rockslide from Ubinas.


moquegua peru


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