Latin America & Caribbean

Calbuco volcano blankets towns in Chile with ash

View of a vehicle covered in ash at the Ensenada locality, on the outskirts of Calbuco volcano, which erupted on 22 April after 40 years without activity, Los Lagos region, south of Chile, on 23 April 2015. Image copyright EPA
Image caption Residents were evacuated as ash rained down on towns near the Calbuco volcano

Residents and emergency workers in southern Chile have been clearing ash that rained down on towns after an eruption of the Calbuco volcano.

The volcano, which had been dormant for four decades, erupted on Wednesday, sending a plume of smoke and ash 10km (6 miles) into the sky.

Authorities evacuated people living within a 21km (13 mile) radius.

Road workers used lorries to plough through the ash, which lay up to a metre (3ft) deep in some places.

As the massive ash cloud drifted south, emergency workers handed out protective masks in a wide area including parts of Chile and Argentina.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption A child's bicycle sits in ash in a garden in Ensenada
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Flower petals covered in ash in the in the Patagonian Argentine area of San Martin de Los Andes.
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Houses in Ensenada blanketed in ash
Image copyright AFP
Image caption A resident in Ensenada takes a break from shovelling ash from the roof of this house
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A man cries at a shelter after his home collapsed under the weight of ash.
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Volunteers dig out a fire truck which got stuck in the ash
Image copyright AP
Image caption Leaves sit under a carpet of ash in Villa La Angostura, southern Argentina

The first eruption on Wednesday evening lasted about 90 minutes and send a huge mushroom cloud of ash into the sky.

Seven hours later the volcano erupted again, this time shooting lava into the air and generating volcanic lightning.

There have been no reports of deaths or injuries.

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