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Chaparrastique volcano ash burst prompts evacuations in El Salvador

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    Digital writers

    Sunday, December 29, 2013, 8:27 PM -

    Officials in El Salvador evacuated an area around the Chaparrastique volcano after the peak shot a cloud of gas and ash about 5 km into the air on Sunday.

    Civil Defence Director Jorge Melendez said a yellow alert had been issued and investigators had been sent to the area to look for signs of fresh lava, but that none has been detected so far. Melendez said shelters have been set up for the evacuees. 

    Assistant Health Minister Eduardo Espinoza said two people were admitted to hospitals for respiratory problems apparently linked to the eruption, but there were no serious cases to report.

    "We are providing assistance to people evacuating, and we are asking them to protect themselves against the gases, which can affect the respiratory tract,'' Espinoza said to The Associated Press.

    He also urged inhabitants near the volcano to avoid drinking from local water sources. 

    The 2,129-metre volcano is located 145 km east of San Salvador, the capital. Its last significant eruption was in 1976.

    With files from The Associated Press

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