The Calbuco volcano in southern Chile erupted twice last week, spewing more than 210 million cubic meters of ash around the Los Lagos region to the west of the Andes Mountains.
Since last Thursday, entry to this region has been prohibited due to an estimated 15 to 20 millimeters of rainfall that is expected. More than 6,000 people have been evacuated since the eruptions.
Additionally, all agricultural and livestock production has been drastically affected. The average accumulation of ash in the region is 50 cm (20 in). Farmers have been searching for adequate grazing areas, but to no avail. Most residents have been calling the region a ‘grey dessert’.
In the immediate aftermath of the eruption, the volcanic ash not only threatened the area around the volcano, but even affected places as far away as Bariloche, Argentina. Though no need to worry. While the airport was forced to close for a few days following the eruption, the ash has had hardly any effect on Bariloche and business continues as usual. In fact, commercial flights have been resumed in the region and daily excursions are still being carried out.
On Saturday, the Chilean government announced that it would do everything possible to provide aid to the families and farmers affected by the Calbuco volcano. Authorities even allowed some residents back into the city, but only to gather domestic necessities.
Despite all of the recent turmoil, volcanic activity is nothing new to Chile, which has around 90 active volcanoes. Locals just hope that tourism to the region continues as normal.