A volcano in El Salvador has erupted and is currently spreading black ash into the air. Reuters reports on Dec. 29 that officials have started evacuations in areas considered too close to the volcano and have set up shelters. The Chaparrastique volcano, also known as San Miguel, may force 5,000 people to evacuate.
The volcano created a loud explosion that gave residents a brief warning it was erupting. Evacuations have been extended to 2 miles around the volcano, and they may increase if the eruptions continue. El Salvador has been aware of increasing activity in the Chaparrastique volcano for several weeks, but residents shared they were surprised.
The ash and smoke are not the only problems residents are facing in El Salvador. They are also dealing with the strong smell of sulfur that has officials recommending they use handkerchiefs to breathe. The volcano is near the city of San Miguel, and there are concerns that the eruptions will continue.
El Salvador’s coffee industry is also worried about the impact of the volcano because early reports indicate the ash is falling on plantations. Growers are concerned the eruptions will have a negative effect on their fields and lead to more loss this year after leaf rust had already caused damage.