International Charter activated for a volcanic eruption in Chile

Satellite image of Volcan Villarrica (Image: NASA)

The International Charter: Space and Major Disasters was activated for an eruption at Villarrica Volcano in southern Chile. The mechanism was activated by the National Emergency Office of the Ministry of Interior and Public Security of Chile (ONEMI) to receive satellite-based emergency information and maps. A Red Alert has been declared in the respective area and thousands of residents have been evacuated for their safety.

Villarrica is one of Chile's most active volcanoes, and has been showing signs of activity since the start of February, leading to close observation of the volcano in the event that a eruption occurred. It finally erupted on 3 March 2015, sending ash and lava up into the sky in a display which was reportedly seen as far as 100 km away.

While no one has been harmed in the eruption, the situation will continue to be monitored for any further eruption. The ash from the volcano could also pose a hazard to health. Meteorologists currently expect the ash cloud to be blown south and across remote parts of Argentina.

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