Friday, January 30, 2009

Relocation of Chaiten Town, Chile - John Seach

The Government of Chile has announced that Chaiten town will eventually be relocated from its present position 9 km SSW of Chaiten volcano. Chaiten volcano erupted in May 2008 after being dormant for over 9000 years. The town was covered in ash and damaged by flooding from the ash-choked Blanco River. The town's 5,000 inhabitants were evacuated, and nearly 2,000 families received financial assistance. The government initially prohibited residents from returning but later lifted its ban. About 100 people now live in Chaiten town. An announcement, was made on Thursday 29th January by Interior Minister Edmundo Pérez Yoma about the future of Chaiten town. He said “As it has been since the eruption first began, our obligation as the government is to ensure safety and protect human lives,” said Pérez Yoma. The interior minister also announced that beginning in March, Futaleufú will replace Chaitén as the administrative capital of Region X. In order to prevent land speculation, the government has not yet announced where exactly it plans to relocate Chaitén. Possibilities reportedly include Bahía Pumalín, Santa Bárbara and Fandango. Edmundo Pérez Yoma said “We have told people many times that it is dangerous, that they cannot remain there, but we cannot force them (to leave)." The minister assured the government will respect the wishes of those who decide to stay in the area but insisted that no public funds will be allocated “to a city that we feel should not be located where it is”.
More on Chaiten Volcano...