Santa Ana Volcano Erupts in El Salvador
Saturday, October 1, 2005
At 8:25 a.m. Santa Ana Volcano's view from Coatepeque Lake changed as a huge flow of "hot mud" flowed from the crater towards the lake. The road that was designed as an evacuation route from that sector of the volcano was blocked completely and the inhabitants of the area had to be evacuated by helicopters.
Minutes after the flow of hot mud was visible from Lake Coatepeque, a huge cloud of ash appeared, which reached an altitude of 50,000 feet, then covering the northwestern part of the country which contains the largest concentration of coffee farms (main export). The local authorities expect that this layer of ash burns the coffee plants of the affected area, decreasing the coffee production of the region considerably.
Along with the ash cloud, a large amount of hot rocks (some reaching three feet in diameter) flew on all directions, damaging roads, homes and vegetation. According to the people living in the surroundings of the volcano, the rocks were released due to the huge amount of pressure released when the ash cloud appeared.
Authorities report the loss of two human lives due to this incident, the cause has not yet been revealed. To prevent the loss of more lives, the government decreed a red alert in a radius of four kilometres of the crater, but yet, some people resist the evacuation proposals due to fear of losing their belongings, as they have to leave their homes without any surveillance. In response to this, the army and the police agreed to patrol the areas evacuated in order to prevent robberies.
It is expected that this incident is only the beginning of a large eruptive process, which may result in a catastrophe for El Salvador.