A volcano in southwestern Colombia erupted on Saturday, blanketing the
nearby provincial capital of Pasto in ash and prompting the evacuation
of 7,000 people living in its shadow. There were no reports of damage
Mount Galeras began erupting about an hour after
dark, spewing “an abundant ashfall on urban Pasto and on some rural
areas,” said Eduardo Alvarado, mayor of the city of 500,000.
Pasto is just over 6 miles from the 14,110-foot volcano, which is widely considered Colombia’s most active.
“We’ve recommended that people who live in urban
areas remain in their homes,” said Alvarado. “The city is tranquil
despite the great quantity of ash that has fallen.”
No injuries or other problems had been reported,
but authorities did order two water treatment plants near Galeras to
shut down, Alvarado said.
The volcano last erupted in January 2008, but
Alvarado said it has hard to compare the two eruptions because this
time it was raining and the volcano was shrouded in clouds.
No one was hurt in 2008 and most nearby residents refused to evacuate, fearing their homes would be looted.
In 1993, an eruption of Galeras killed nine people, including five scientists who had descended into the crater to sample gases. (AP)