Authorities declared a red alert in areas downstream from the central Colombia Nevado del Ruiz volcano Sunday amid growing concerns an eruption is imminent.
According to Colombia’s meteorological institute IDEAM, the highest alert was justified “for the rivers close to the Nevado del Ruiz volcano because of a change in eruption threat and the heavy rains that have presented themselves in this area.”
Increased seismic activity forced local volcanologists to maintain an orange alert for the past ten days which was heightened by the national authorities on Sunday after a further increase in measured activity.
According to IDEAM, the red alert is “preventive” and the volcano may decrease its seismic activity without coming to an eruption.
However, the red alert allows authorities to increase monitoring of the areas under threat of avalanches if the Nevado del Ruiz erupts.
The city of Manizales, the capital of the Caldas department, falls under the area where the red alert was declared.
The most tragic eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz took place in 1985 when 25,000 were killed.