Emergency declared in Peru as Mt. Ubinas threatens to erupt

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

File picture of the Volcano Ubinas.

The government of Peru declared a state of emergency in the vicinity of the Ubinas volcano on Saturday as it began to spew out ash and smoke over a 6km area, indicating a possible eruption in the near future. The civil defense institute has recommended the total evacuation of the 3,500 residents of the district of Ubinas.

The Peruvian military has been ordered to aid in the evacuation of civilians from the area. Aid shipments of tents, water and powdered milk are being sent to the affected area.

Those who decided to evacuate were brought to the town of Querapi by bus. Others who reside near the volcano chose to stay behind to protect their livestock and belongings.

No human deaths have been reported so far, but llamas and alpacas have died after eating grass contaminated by volcanic pollutants. People have reported eye and breathing problems following exposure to the acid-laden ash and smoke.

The 18700-ft. high Ubinas is Peru's most active volcano, with 23 eruptions recorded since 1550. The current activity follows a 40-year dormant period. Scientists at the Institute of Geophysics have warned that a dome of incandescent lava appears to be building up in the volcanic crater.

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