The Chile Government has ordered the evacuation of hundreds of residents of Chaiten, 661 miles south of Santiago as a volcano spews Lava, toxic gas and hot rocks.
The President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, is hoping to evacuate the remaining residents of the town which is now being described as almost a ghost town, while they still can as was stated in an announcement on television, "If lava comes out of the volcano it would take 20 minutes to reach the town. So an evacuation mechanism has been set up that will allow us to save within 15 minutes the lives of the few residents and above all the members of the armed forces and police that are protecting and looking after Chaiten."
Residents from three different towns have been evacuated.
About 8,000 of 12,000 residents of Chaiten and two other towns have been evacuated since the volcano started spewing ash into the sky on May 2, La Tercera reported.
There were 384 people left in Chaiten, including journalists and rescue teams, the National Emergency Office said today on its Web site.
Chile has the world's second most active string of volcanoes behind Indonesia.
As of 29 minutes ago, via The Patagonia Times, it was reported that the volcano is gaining force.
Earlier this week President Michelle Bachelet visited the volcano zone accompanied by a team of U.S. scientists and several of her top cabinet ministers.
“We are traveling with a group of scientists from the United States who made an initial assessment of the situation yesterday,” Bachelet told reporters. “They are going to measure the air quality, as well as the presence of chemicals due to the falling ash. They are going to find out about the risks that exist.”
Of major concern is the effect the ubiquitous ash – which has contaminated local water supplies – will have on residents still in the area and on the region’s estimated 40,000 head of livestock.
Is is also being reported that the Chaiten volcano spewed lava and blasted ash 20 kilometres into the sky and that rains following the eruption have carpeted surrounding areas in ash and mud.