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Chaitén town ‘90% flooded’ – ONEMI 15 May 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chaitén, Chile, eruptions, natural hazards, Planchón-Peteroa.
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According to the Chilean Oficina Nacional de Emergencia (bulletin, 14 May 2008) the town of Chaitén is currently severely flooded because of a combination of the overflowing of the Chaitén river and the recent rains: ‘According to reports from an overflight of the Chaitén area conducted by the Air Force, the town is 90% flooded due to increased flows of the Río Blanco or Río Chaitén and the occurrence of precipitation’. The river was reported on 13 May to be choked with volcanic ash and pumice, causing flooding.

Terra España today has a full report on the situation at Chaitén:

The suffering city, stricken by the tragedy of the violent eruption of the volcano which forced the evacuation of its more than 4,000 people on 2 May, now faces relentless rain. According to reports from the area, the accumulation of water ranges from 50 centimeters to one meter, and in some cases is mixed with mud of the sediments which the volcano has deposited in the Río Blanco and Río Rayas.

The Chilean Government has ordered that the 50-kilometre exclusion zone around the town of Chaitén will remain in place for the next three months because of the dangerous conditions in and around the town: ‘Many of the evacuated families asked the government for permission to return home to collect their belongings, but this was not permitted because of the deteriorating situation’.

Meanwhile fumarolic activity at the volcano Peteroa, situated on the Chile-Argentina border some 800 kilometres north of Chaitén, has provoked concern among the authorities, who are clearly determined not to be taken by surprise again. ONEMI notes today that the reports of increased activity may be due to changed atmospheric conditions making the fumaroles more visible, rather than any actual alteration in the volcano’s behaviour. The regional ONEMI director will be visiting the area to assess the situation tomorrow.

For all our Chaitén coverage: Chaitén << The Volcanism Blog

Global Volcanism Program: Chaitén – summary information for Chaitén (1508-41)
Global Volcanism Program: Planchón-Peteroa – summary information for Planchón-Peteroa (1507-04=)
ONEMI, Oficina Nacional de Emergencia – Chilean government emergencies office (Spanish)
SERNAGEOMIN – volcanology information from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, Chile (Spanish)

Nuevo aluvión deja a casi todo Chaitén bajo el agua – 123 Chile, 15 May 2008 (Spanish)
Un 90% de Chaitén está bajo el agua por las fuertes lluvias y el desborde de ríos – Terra España, 15 May 2008 (Spanish)
Ponen candado pueblo chileno por volcán e inundación – Reuters América Latina, 15 May 2008 (Spanish)

The Volcanism Blog


1. Fresh Bilge » Lahars - 15 May 2008

[…] now hit the area as well. Volcanic mud is pouring off ash-laden slopes. New reports indicate that floods and mud have already reached 90% of the town. Volcanic mud sets like concrete. Even if no pyroclastic flow ever reaches the town, the volcano has […]

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