Case study: low-income developing country - Chaiten eruption, May 2008
Chaiten is a small volcano in western Chile in the Andes fold mountains. Beneath it is a destructive plate margin, where the Nazca plate subducts under the South American plate. It is tectonically active with earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions.
In May 2008 the volcano erupted after being dormant for 9,000 years.
The eruption was violent, producing lava, ash, pyroclastic flows and minor earthquakes.
The ash cloud could be seen from space and the volcano increased in size greatly due to lava deposition.
The towns of Chaiten and Futaleufu were evacuated. Both towns were coated in ash, as were local farms.
Airports and highways were closed due to the ash dangers, both in Chile and neighbouring countries, eg Argentina.
The air pollution generated by the ash caused health problems for people.
Volcanic mud flows called lahars blocked roads making local people even more isolated than usual. Rivers channels became blocked too causing flooding.
The national government brought in the army, air force and navy to evacuate the 5,000 locals and give them food and fresh water.
The government supported people socially and economically.
The government accepted help from the USA to help monitor the volcano as it erupted.
The Chilean government plans (in the long term) to set up monitoring for all the high-risk volcanoes in the country and to create an early warning system.
Chile accepted aid and support from other South American countries and the wider world.