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El Salavador's Chaparrastique volcano erupts, thousands evacuated

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A volcano in El Salvador erupted Sunday causing thousands to evacuate reported CNN on December 29, 2013.

The eruption of the Chaparrastique volcano in eastern El Salvador forced residents to flee their homes. 5,000 people are expected to be evacuated.

President Mauricio Funes addressed residents in a television appearance, requesting that residents evacuate and seek shelter.

"We are not certain there will be new eruptions, but we can't rule out that possibility either."

Authorities want to evacuate residents within a three kilometer (1.9 mile) radius of the volcano.

"We have implemented emergency measures to evacuate villages located within 3 kilometers of the volcano," Civil Defense Director Jorge Melendez said.

"The evacuations began almost right after the explosion," said civil protection official Armando Vividor.

While there have been no reports of injuries, two people were treated for breathing problems reported Assistant Health Minister Eduardo Espinoza.

"We are providing assistance to people evacuating, and we are asking them to protect themselves against the gases, which can affect the respiratory tract," Espinoza said.

Because of the ash cloud, dozens of flights into and out of the El Salvador International Airport were canceled on Sunday.

Additional incoming flights were diverted to La Aurora International Airport in Guatamala. Avianca, Iberia, and United Airlines canceled several flights into San Salvador Sunday.

The Chaparrastique eruption was the first in 37 years.

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