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Chile lifts evacuation order as volcano quiets down
by Staff Writers
Santiago (AFP) June 19, 2011

Thousands of evacuated Chileans were allowed to return home Sunday two weeks after the eruption of the Puyehue volcano, which sent a huge ash cloud into the sky and disrupted air travel in the southern hemisphere.

"The volcano's activity has been steadily decreasing, which allows us today to lift the evacuation order in the area and permit the 4,270 people who have been evacuated to return to their homes," said Laurence Golborne, Chile's minister for mining and energy.

The June 4 eruption of the Puyehue volcano high in the Andes mountains wrought havoc with air travel across South America, Australia and New Zealand for several days, stranding thousands of passengers, in addition to the evacuations.

Chilean geologists have predicted that the volcano will become increasingly quiet over the next two weeks, and that the column of smoke and ash that caused thousands of flight cancelations and delays would continue to dissipate.

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Flights resume as ash moves off New Zealand
Sydney (AFP) June 17, 2011
Flights between Australia and New Zealand were returning to normal Friday after an ash cloud spewed by a Chilean volcano moved away, almost a week after causing trans-Tasman havoc. Australia's Qantas, which had banned all flights to New Zealand since Sunday, said it had resumed services to and from Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown but Christchurch routes remained suspended until 0600 GMT. ... read more

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