Tuesday, July 5th 2011 - 06:14 UTC

Argentina announces aid for areas suffering from the volcanic ash cloud

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced a package of measures to mitigate the effects of ash spewing from Chile's Puyehue volcano that has upended air travel, tourism and farming in Patagonia.

Some airports remain closed and livestock has been left without food

Citing a “real tragedy” in Argentina caused by the volcano, Cristina Fernandez said the government would double social benefits, as well as defer tax payments and obligations for the hardest-hit Andean cities and towns, including the skiing resort city of Bariloche and Villa La Angostura in the Andean mountains.

The Patagonia mountain range in south-western Argentina, home to both cities, was declared an environmental disaster area after a massive layer of volcanic ash was dumped on successive ‘rains’ following an eruption.

In a speech broadcast on national television, Kirchner said the equivalent of 2.41 billion pesos would also be awarded to 1,400 farmers and businesses in the affect area on the condition that they don't fire their workers.

The president said another 7 million will be allocated to pay for cleanup operations, while a road will be built in Bariloche to provide work for locals.

The government also hopes that flights will return to normal to and from the affected areas starting Wednesday, giving a break to a region heavily dependent on tourism two weeks after the onset of the winter ski season in Argentina.

Airports in Bariloche and Neuquen have remained closed since June 4 when the volcano erupted in southern Chile and winds spread the ash across much of southern Argentina, intermittently grounding commercial flights and airports in and around Argentina's capital.

Livestock and agriculture in the provinces of Rio Negro and Neuquen were also affected, and declared an emergency due to the economic damage. With the ash blanket mostly sheep and cattle have been deprived of food with no mediate prospects of recovery.

Flights from airports across South America -- including hubs in Montevideo, the Chilean capital Santiago and southern Brazilian cities -- have also been hit in recent weeks due to ash clouds, which swept around the Southern Hemisphere to linger over Australia and New Zealand and also to South Africa.

The Puyehue, which rumbled to life early this month for the first time since 1960, is high in the Andes mountains, 870 kilometres south of Santiago and near the border with Argentina, just 100 kilometres away from Bariloche.

8 comments Feed

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1 Englander (#) Jul 05th, 2011 - 11:00 am Report abuse
What a terrible disaster.
2 jerry (#) Jul 05th, 2011 - 07:17 pm Report abuse
It really is a terrible disaster, and I hope it doesn´t get worse. I say this only because this president already promised a few million to help out, but as of last week, not a peso had been received. I t could be more talk - talk -talk, but no action!
3 Artillero601 (#) Jul 05th, 2011 - 08:11 pm Report abuse
Like FEMA with Katrina? the US can deploy a Brigade anywhere in the planet within 24 hours but it took a week to deliver water to New Orleans .....
4 jerry (#) Jul 05th, 2011 - 08:40 pm Report abuse
I am still waiting to hear about the “deliverables” promised by CFK several months ago (and actually some, a few years ago) and still not even started!
5 ElaineB (#) Jul 05th, 2011 - 08:58 pm Report abuse
@3 There was a lot more to the poor response by the US government. It was shameful how they allowed the poor, black population to be so neglected. I think many Americans were shocked by the lack of effort by GW's government.
6 jerry (#) Jul 05th, 2011 - 09:32 pm Report abuse
3 &5 - If I remember correctly, I read where at least one of the Fed culprits, the head of FEMA, was fired by GB. I also think that one of the LA state emergency agencies had failed to do the flood control work which they had been paid to do. It was a shamble!
7 Britishbulldog (#) Jul 07th, 2011 - 11:08 pm Report abuse
I will believe it when I see the money coming in to help, its all talk with this woman, and whats the betting that in the next few weeks they will be asking the world to help them out monetary wise so that they can dip their sticky fingers in that little pot of gold like they usually do, just like they did when the money came in to clean up one of the worse polluted rivers in the world in the Argentine Capital. www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2011/05/argentina-dreaming-of-a-clean-river.html


8 Rob the argentine (#) Jul 11th, 2011 - 03:40 am Report abuse
Kristina promised and that was all ... just empty words. No money or food was sent yet. Maybe they will send help in October, days before elections.

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