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The South Cone and Falklands remain under the volcanic ash cloud

Friday, June 10th 2011 - 05:55 UTC
Full article 24 comments
A thin film of ash dust, which hardens with rain, has begun to fall in Buenos Aires and Montevideo where this photo was taken A thin film of ash dust, which hardens with rain, has begun to fall in Buenos Aires and Montevideo where this photo was taken

Uruguay, most of Argentina, the south of Chile and even the Falkland Islands is the South Atlantic are suffering the consequences of the volcanic ash cloud that remains hovering over the region forcing airlines to cancel flights until further notice.

A Unasur meeting of Finance ministers and central bank governors scheduled to take place in Buenos Aires had to be cancelled because of flight cancellations.

Health officials cautioned that the ash and fine sand softly covering Montevideo, Buenos Aires and other cities with a thin greyish film was not toxic or presented health risks but warned that those with respiratory problems should keep in doors.

In Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Santiago de Chile most flights have been cancelled by the airlines and in places like Sao Paulo, Brazil, hundreds of south bound passengers are virtually stranded.

In international airports such as Ezeiza in Buenos Aires many travellers who can’t afford a hotel have had to camp in the terminal.

The situation has been unstable since last Saturday when the eruption of the Chilean volcano Puyehue in the Andes Mountains spewed millions of tons of stone and ashes six kilometres high into the atmosphere.

Winds have been since then responsible for the rest, and in some places the situation has worsened because of the winter fogs normal for this time of the year along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

In-bound flights from the northern hemisphere to the Southern cone have been cancelled or diverted because of the uncertain conditions until the winds clear the area.

Airlines are recommending passengers to keep track of flights in internet but according to the meteorological forecasts not many changes are expected for the next 72 hours.

In the Falkland Islands, 600 kilometres from the Argentine Patagonia coast, the situation is not much different: the air bridge with Britain only reached Ascension Islands and turned back to Brize Norton and the weekly Lan flight next Saturday could run the same luck.

Helicopter support for the oil rig drilling in Falklands’ waters had been temporarily suspended.

But besides the flights delays and overall disruption a more serious situation is emerging for Patagonia farmers since their flocks could be cut off from food if the ash and sand cloud persists in covering and piling up in grazing fields.

During a similar situation back in 1991 with the Hudson volcano thousands of sheep were lost unable to feed.


Top Comments

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  • geo

    the all Falkland Islands must be evacuated promptly !

    Jun 10th, 2011 - 09:34 am 0
  • lsolde

    Ok, geo. We'll take over Patagonia.

    Jun 10th, 2011 - 09:45 am 0
  • WestisBest

    Sure geo, and how will this be achieved without any air travel?

    Jun 10th, 2011 - 10:38 am 0
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