nday, September 15, 2013
Peru declares state of emergency near Ubinas volcano
September 12, 2013
By Rachel Chase
Authorities examine evacuation options.
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, Ichuña, 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 crops and polluting water sources.
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.
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