Chile vol­cano erup­tion costs re­gion US$600 mil.: of­fi­cial

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Last week’s spec­tac­u­lar twin erup­tions of the Cal­buco vol­cano will cost south­ern Chile’s Los La­gos re­gion, a tourism and agri­cul­ture hub, up to US$600 mil­lion, a lo­cal busi­ness leader said Mon­day.

The re­gion is strug­gling to clean up some 210 mil­lion cu­bic me­ters (7.4 bil­lion cu­bic feet) of ash spewed by the vol­cano, which con­tam­i­nated rivers, lakes and vast stretches of prairie.

With large swathes of farm­land blan­keted in the thick gray ash and de­bris, “the agri­cul­ture and live­stock in­dus­try will prob­a­bly be the hard­est hit,” said Emir Jadue, head of the Cham­ber of Com­merce in the town of Puerto Varas, near the vol­cano.

“The Los La­gos re­gional econ­omy had an­nual turnover of US$2 bil­lion. We es­ti­mate the erup­tion of Cal­buco will cause losses of up to about 30 per­cent,” he said.

Los La­gos has more than a mil­lion head of cat­tle, around 30 per­cent of the to­tal in Chile, and sup­plies about half the South Amer­i­can coun­try’s milk.

Chile’s salmon in­dus­try, the world’s sec­ond-largest, is also fac­ing losses. Los La­gos has the largest con­cen­tra­tion of salmon farms in the coun­try, but many had their wa­ter sup­plies con­tam­i­nated by ash.

The ef­fect on the re­gion’s key tourism in­dus­try, which draws about 200,000 vis­i­tors a year, is less clear.

“The vol­cano could de­crease the num­ber of tourists com­ing for out­doors ac­tiv­i­ties... but it could also in­crease the num­ber of tourists who want to see an ac­tive vol­cano,” said Jadue.

AFP

A heap of ash from the Cal­buco vol­cano on a street of La Ense­nada, south­ern Chile, on Sun­day, April 26.

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