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Chile, Argentina order evacuation around stirring southern volcano

Published on May 28, 2013 6:20 AM
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SANTIAGO/BUENOS AIRES (REUTERS) - Chilean and Argentine authorities on Monday declared a red alert and ordered the mandatory evacuation of a 25km radius around the active Copahue volcano, which straddles the border between the two Andean nations.

The volcano - located some 500km south of capital Santiago, between Chile's Bio Bio region and Argentina's Neuquen province - has seen increasing seismic activity in recent weeks but has not erupted, Chilean authorities said.

"This doesn't necessarily mean the volcano will start erupting. But according to the Sernageomin (National Geological and Mining Service), the volcano is now in a process that could culminate in an eruption, for that reason we've issued a red alert and the evacuation," Chilean Interior Minister Andres Chadwick told a nationally televised news conference.

Authorities estimated that some 2,240 people will be evacuated in Chile.

This handout picture released by Telam news agency shows a cloud of ash belching out of the Copahue volcano, nestled on the Andean border between Chile and Argentina, some 500km south of Santiago, on May 26, 2013. Chilean and Argentine authorities on Monday declared a red alert and ordered the mandatory evacuation of a 25km radius around the active Copahue volcano. -- PHOTO: AFP
 
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