Life around the volcano begins to return to normal

Emergency officials are relaxing even as the Turrialba volcano does the same thing.

The national emergency commission reduced the prohibited zone around the volcano from five to two kilometers Wednesday, and school children in the areas are expected to be back at their classes today.

However, an alert remains in force for the cantons of  Turrialba and Alvarado and a lesser one for Cartago, Oreamuno and Jiménez.

Volcano experts are basing their prediction that the volcano activity is diminishing from seismic monitoring of the mountain as well as the obvious signs of vapor emanating from the crater instead of eruptive ash.

Still they characterize the Turrialba volcano as one of the more active in the country. Since 2010 the mountain has been putting out acidic vapor that has done heavy damage to the vegetation in the surrounding national park and elsewhere.

Th latest eruptions have been expensive, the  Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias said it has spent 17.2 million colons, about $33,000, hauling hay bales to the dairy farmers whose fields were covered with ash. Milk production also is down, and the Instituto Costarricense de

A farmer works his field in the shadow of the volcano.

A farmer works his field in the shadow of the volcano.

Electricidad has been repairing electrical lines.

The Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados continues to check drinking water sources that have been polluted by the ash.

Banco Nacional said Wednesday that it would offer special financing for the farmers who have suffered damage from the ash. In addition to dairy farmers, there are many vegetable growers in the area. Some of the vegetables cannot be marketed. Others can be washed and freed of ash.

Some of the farmers were planting new crops this week.

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