Colombian authorities have raised the risk level of the Galeras volcano to orange alert, meaning an eruption is likely within days or weeks.
The Colombian Institute of Geology and Mining (Ingeominas) declared the alert on the Galeras volcano in south-west Colombia Wednesday because of “fluctuating levels in the occurrence of seismicity,” according to a statement issued by Ingeominas.
In particular, “the occurrence of earthquakes with screw-type characteristics, which are relevant because in Galeras they have been recorded in periods prior to eruptions,” has caused the government agency to warn of an impending eruption.
The Civil Defense and Red Cross volunteers have prepared nine shelters with basic elements necessary for survival to accommodate the some 8,000 residents from the nearby municipalities of Pasto, Nariño, and La Florida, the Director of the local Red Cross relief organization Javier Guerrero told RCN Radio. No residents have been evacuated yet.
Galeras is the country’s most active volcano. It erupted in January 2010, forcing the evacuation of the area’s inhabitants. In 2009 the volcano erupted five times.