Ubinas has been one of Peru’s most active volcano which erupted on April 15 releasing a cloud of ash. An evacuation was ordered in Querapi near the volcano to avoid the falling ash that started sometime yesterday. The latest report by Peru’s Institute of Geophysics recommends that the alert level be raised to orange as the situation could possibly elevate to dangerous proportions.
Juan Benites, the agriculture minister, said that it will take approximately three days beginning this Thursday to move 4,000 residents of two southern districts to safety. According to the Andina state news agency these residents will also be accompanied by nearly 30,000 horses, sheep and cows along with other animals.
Ubinas is one of Peru’s most active volcanoes and started emitting ash clouds which were reportedly 14,750 foot tall. According to the national geologic, mining and metallurgical institute, INGEMMET, the ash clouds are the latest in a series of small-scale eruptions at the volcano. The volcano’s activity however accelerated this week as small eruptions quickly shifted to larger but still moderate ash cloud eruptions.
Peru’s health ministry has said that as many as 40 people have reported stomach problems and eye inflammations due to the constant ash downpour. Peru faced a previous eruption in 2006 which forced the evacuation of thousands of residents. The volcano also spewed huge amounts of cinder and toxic gases along with the ash clouds. Multiple livestock that ate the ash coated grass also died as a consequence. The government of Peru also declared a state of emergency in the nearby province. They will also provide financial assistance to those affected by the ash clouds.
According to a report from a Peruvian news agency the Ubinas volcano is not only a threat to humans but the animal population as well. The entire population of alpacas, llamas and vicuna, which constitute the main source of income for the resident area, might also be under threat.
Ubinas is approximately 470 miles southeast of the capital of Lima and located about 100 kilometers east of Peru’s second most populated city, Arequipa. The last major eruption reported from Ubinas occurred over a decade ago. The volcano had otherwise been dormant for 40 years prior. Ubinas has been one of Peru’s most active volcano since the 1500s.
The local government provided a series of detailed steps to successfully evacuate and protect residents. Proper evacuation routes were established for both the residents and their livestock. Authorities increased information flow to the local population to keep them updated on the situation. Activity at the volcano was constantly surveyed and monitored. This was accomplished through regular helicopter checks at the summit of the volcano. IGP’s technical director Jose Machare said that while increased volcanic activity has been observed, these levels have still not exceeded those registered during the major eruptions between 2006 and 2009.
The government also took further steps to ensure the safety of the local population. Protective masks were distributed last week to the affected areas as protection from the harmful volcanic ash. Health brigades meanwhile surveyed the nearby water supplies. Every effort has been made to help locals evacuate while one of Peru’s most active volcano Ubinas continues to erupt.
By Hammad Ali,