Latin America & Caribbean

Chile's Calbuco volcano erupts for third time

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Media captionFootage shows clouds of ash and gas in the sky above the Calbuco volcano

Chile's Calbuco volcano has erupted for the third time in eight days, leading the government to order the evacuation of 2,500 people.

Some of those residents had only just returned to their homes after last week's eruptions.

The latest eruption was less powerful, but sent a large plume of dark grey smoke and ash rising from the crater.

Calbuco surprised residents of the Los Lagos region last week by bursting into life after decades of inactivity.

The National Geology and Mines Service issued a red alert after Thursday's eruption, warning that the volcano remained unstable.

On Friday, residents were warned that heavy rain could mix with ash and rock to produce deadly volcanic mudflows.

These "lahars" can slide down volcanoes like avalanches.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area around the Calbuco volcano since last week
Image copyright EPA
Image caption The government has said that anyone within a 20-mile radius of the crater should leave
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Calbuco is one of the most active volcanoes in Chile

The BBC's Gideon Long in Santiago says that whereas the ash last week was blown in a north-easterly direction, this time it is drifting south-east over the town of Cochamo.

The town has been blanketed in a cloud of smoke and ash.

Calbuco is one of the most active volcanoes in Chile, having erupted in 1961 and 1972, and many times before that.

Last week's eruptions caused the cancellation of flights to and within Chile, and forced farmers in the area to evacuate their livestock.

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