Lima.– Authorities in southern Peru said Monday they are evacuating about 480 families due to an increase in seismic activity at the Ubinas volcano.
"We are currently at work readying shelters for the temporary evacuation of the inhabitants of five communities," Cristala Constantinides, president of the Moquegua region where the Ubinas volcano is located, told the press.
The regional authority said that they are collecting tents, blankets and whatever else is needed to move the families, while at the same time they have asked the National Police of Peru and the army to put their vehicles at the service of the evacuation effort.
Volcano experts put the Ubinas area on orange alert (medium intensity level of seismic activity) on Saturday, after registering several explosions since May 31, including one that spewed glowing hot lava 200 meters (656 feet) into the air.
In April, the last time the Ubinas volcano registered an alarming increase in seismic activity, its crater doubled in size to 80 meters (262 feet) in less than a week and more than 200 people fled from their homes by their own means. Toxic emissions from the volcano on that occasion caused the death of about 50 llamas and alpacas.
As many as 40 people, most of them farmers and ranchers in the valley near Ubinas, experienced conjunctivitis and/or respiratory problems as a result of the volcanic discharge.
The Ubinas volcano, which is about 1,200 kilometers (some 745 miles) south of Lima, begin emitting gases and ash in late March.