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Volcano Villarrica’s Eruption: Members and Missionaries Are Safe 

Volcano Villarrica’s Eruption: Members and Missionaries Are Safe
Erupción del Volcán Villarrica, marzo 2015. | Foto: Twitter, @NGalloR

Para leer este artículo en español:

CONCEPCIÓN, Chile – Members and missionaries are safe and sound after the eruption of Volcano Villarrica located in the border of the Araucanía and Los Ríos regions at the south of Chile.

On Tuesday 3rd March, at 3:01 a.m. the Volcano Villarrica erupted after 30 years of low activity. The volcanic crater is 2,847 meters over the level of the sea and 190 miles southeast of Concepción.

According to the reports given by La Tercera, 3,385 locals and turists were evacuated but they were able to return soon after dawn.

Only 4 missionaries in the entire Chile Osorno Mission had to be evacuated. After phone contact, the Mission President Rodrigo Obeso affirmed “The missionaries are fine”.

“We wanted to take the missionaries out of Pucón. They will not come back until things return to normal” President Obeso said.
“Nothing at all happend in the city of Pucón, the volcano is far away from the city, there are no signs of volcanic ashes or damages, and nobody was injured.” Finally, he stated: “We sent emails to every parent of the missionaries serving in that area to assure them their children were safe.”

President Hugo Molina, from Villarrica District, visited Pucón yesterday morning, and shared a similar point of view of the event: “The situation isn’t complex, as a matter of fact, Pucón seemed to be sleeping. No one was on the streets, everything was calmed. Most of Pucón inhabitants stayed.”

“With the mission president we just evacuated the missionaries. As soon as they saw the eruption, the Pucón Branch President along with the members ran away to the security zones the municipality had previously assigned, but they are all still now.”

Pucón is the nearest location to the volcano where the Church has an operating unit, only 10 miles away from the crater.

No problem with volcanic ashes was reported.

President Sáez, from Volcán Branch in Villarrica, said that “Villarrica is in a safe area at a proper height, as a consequence, we will not have problems unless we face an ash eruption, but we haven’t had so far.”

He added how they were just saving water, “[since due to the eruption], this ressource is the first that gets contaminated in the zone.”

Panguipulli is another church branch close to the volcano. President Fernando Carrillo, from Los Lagos District, who was in the area at the moment of the phone contact, explained that “we are far enough from the Villarrica, the volcano is visible from here but we haven’t had any difficulty or ashes.”

The ONEMI (or National Office of Emergency of the Interior Ministry) kept the red alert within 6,2 miles from the crater, while the adjacent locations stayed in a preventive yellow alert.

Chilean President Michelle Bachellet arrived to Pucón yesterday morning with the ministers Jorge Burgos, Defense; Alberto Undurraga, Public Works; and Carlos Furche, Agriculture; according to BioBioChile. She held a meeting with town authorities and she made a flyby over the volcano.

The map below shows the declared red and yellow alert zones. The Church unities with yellow alert are Pucón, Ancahual, and Volcán branches -from Villarrica District- and the Panguipulli Branch -from Los Lagos District.



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