Chaparrastique covers landscape in ash

Last updated 10:15 31/12/2013
YouTube: Maka Vial

El Salvador's Chaparrastique volcano erupts, sending ash high into the sky.

MAKING A SCENE: The Chaparrastique volcano in eastern El Salvador belches a column of hot ash high into the air.
PROTECTION: A girl covers her face as volcanic ash covers her town.

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A volcano in eastern El Salvador is belching more ash and gases after a big weekend eruption that drove more than 1000 people into emergency shelters. No major injuries or damage were reported.

The Chaparrastique volcano, which is about 140 km (87 miles) east of San Salvador, the capital, spewed ash over a wide area known for its coffee plantations on Sunday (local time).

"The Chaparrastique volcano is still producing gases combined with small emissions of ash, which is normal after an eruption," El Salvador's environment ministry said on its Twitter page.

In all, 1635 people are in seven temporary shelters, emergency services said. Some people on the volcano's slopes have refused to leave, emergency services said.

It was not clear to what extent El Salvador's coffee crop, already blighted by an outbreak of leaf rust, might be affected by the eruption. Coffee officials said they were meeting on Monday to evaluate the damage.

El Salvador's international airport was operating normally on Monday, although more than 36 international flights into and out of the country had been suspended on Sunday because of the eruption, the airport and airlines said.

El Salvador has 23 active volcanoes. Chaparrastique is considered one of the most active, with 26 eruptions in the last 500 years, the environment ministry said.

In a 1976 eruption, lava gushed from the volcano. Chaparrastique shook violently in another event in 2010.

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- Reuters

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