Chile volcano residents removed

Security forces evacuate remaining residents of areas affected by ongoing eruption.

    Ash from the volcano has reached Argentina and the Atlantic coast [AFP]

    Chilean police and troops have evacuated the remaining residents of areas affected by the Chaiten volcano, which has been erupting for the past week.
     
    More than 7,000 people had already left the area, and on Thursday a court order was given asking those remaining within a 50km to leave or be forced out, after a strong explosion sent glowing-hot rocks into the sky.
     

    About 130 residents were forcibly removed – mostly small farmers who did not want to abandon their livestock.

    This school playground in a local
    village was covered in ash [AFP]
    The eruption has led to ash covering large parts of South America, reaching the Atlantic seaboard and Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.

    An Argentinian weather service said on Thursday that the ash was turning the capital's sky "a greyish colour" but that it was not covering the ground.

     

    The volcano in southern Chile began erupting last Friday for the first time in thousands of years, leaving a strong smell of sulphur around the village of Chaiten 10km from the volcano.

     

    Foliage covered in ash was being eaten by cows left behind in Chaiten.

     

    Some livestock had ash coating their backs and on some areas of the ground it was compacted to create a hard layer.

    The volcano is in the Patagonian region of Chile, south of Santiago, the capital.

     

    It is not known whether the eruption will continue for day, weeks, months or even longer.

     

    Student riots

     

    Elsewhere in the country, hundreds of high school students clashed with police on Friday in a separate development.

     

    The violence came during one of a series of student protests this year against government plans for education reform.

     

    More than 30 people were arrested and one police officer was injured in the coastal city of Valparaiso, northwest of Santiago.

     

    Students say the proposed changes do not do enough to help poor communities.

     

    Their demands include free access to public transport.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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