Colombia’s government has called for high risk areas to be prepared for the eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano.
The Interior Ministry has ordered the fire departments of 19 municipalities in the central Caldas and Tolima departments to be on high alert after the Colombian Geological Survey (SGC) announced that an eruption is “probable” in the coming days or weeks.
The alert level was raised from yellow to orange in March as the volcano became increasingly active. Last week a column of gas and steam approximately 1,200 meters tall extended from its crater.
The national director of the firefighting system warned that there is urgent need for a special contingency plan that outlines tactics to be used in emergency volcanic situations, especially for search and rescue groups. He called for a focus on high risk areas in or near the paths of rivers that originate in the Ruiz, whose levels may be elevated by pyroclastic fragments and the melting of ice.
The director of the Colombian Fire Department Federation in the town of Riosucio explained that local firemen are preparing a plan and educating communities.
In 1985 The Nevado del Ruiz erupted, wiping out the town of Armero and killing 25,000 people.