The eruption of the Chaparrastique volcano in El Salvador has lead authorities to call for an evacuation of villages located within 3 kilometers of the volcano. The volcano erupted on Sunday and witnesses say that it shot a cloud of dust and ash high into the air. Researchers are searching for signs of flowing or fresh lava but have not yet found any.
Emergency shelters have been set up for those who were evacuated from their homes and assistance is available for the elderly and others who need it. The Chaparrastique volcano is one of 23 active volcanoes in El Salvador and has erupted 26 times in the last 500 years, making it the most active and most dangerous.
"We have implemented emergency measures to evacuate villages located within 3 kilometers of the volcano," Civil Defense Director Jorge Melendez said. "One has to leave for one's own safety," he continued.
The volcano rises 7,025 feet into the sky and authorities say that as many as 5,000 people live nearby and are being evacuated. The volcano is only 90 miles away from the capital city, San Salvador.
The volcano last erupted in 1976 and scientists have been monitoring it for months. If lava does begin to flow from the volcano or the gas and smoke become worse, more people may have to be evacuated from other nearby areas.
Emergency personnel as well as ground transportation units and helicopters are nearby in case anyone is found injured and to assist with evacuations if necessary.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.