20 Jun 2011

Chile lifts volcano evacuation order

7:33 am on 20 June 2011

Thousands of Chileans evacuated from their homes have been allowed to return two weeks after the eruption of volcano which sent a huge ash cloud into the sky and around the southern hemisphere.

The Chilean minister for mining and energy says activity at the Puyehue volcano high in the Andes mountains has been steadily decreasing, AFP reports.

The volcano began erupting on 4 June. Its ash cloud caused major disruption to air travel across New Zealand, Australia and South America for several days, stranding thousands of passengers.

Geologists in Chile predict the volcano will become increasingly quiet over the next two weeks, with the column of smoke and ash continuing to dissipate.