Authorities in southwest Colombia ordered the evacuation of around 12,000 people living near the Chiles and Cerro Negro volcanoes on the border with Ecuador, amid fears that recent volcanic activity may result in an eruption.
On Tuesday, Colombia’s Geological Service have changed the alert level of two volcanoes from yellow to orange.
48 hours later, it was followed up by the National Disaster Risk Management Unit’s (UNGRD) decision to evacuate more than 3,500 families belonging to indigenous reserves of Chiles , Panam and Mayasquer.
According to Carlos Ivan Marquez, the director of the UNGRD, the authorities set up an incident command post in the town of Cumbal where they have delivered 3,000 tents for the people in temporary shelters.
“In accord with the forecast given to us by the Geological Service, the change of alert level from yellow to orange means anticipated eruptions in the coming days or weeks,” Marquez told the media.
If the volcanoes are to erupt, it will mostly affect the state Nariño. Local state government have started to take security measures in order prevent tragedies.
The governor of Narino, Raul Delgado Guerrero, declared state of emergency in the area, in order to facilitate rescue missions and provision of care in case of seismic or volcanic activity.
While the authorities asked the community to remain calm, the hospital network of the Nariño state issued yellow alert for 16 municipalities in the region.