Colombia’s Institute of Mining and Geology (Ingeominas) issued a red alert warning that a second eruption of the Galeras volcano is imminent, after it erupted around 4AM Wednesday.
Diego Gomez from the Pasto Observatory of Vulcanology and Seismology said that due to the atypical, non-explosive nature of the event, another eruption is expected.
Around 8,000 people from seven municipalities, who inhabit areas around Galeras, which is in the southern Nariño department, have begun to evacuate to the emergency housing provided by authorities.
Colombian Social Welfare Minister Mauricio Santamaria announced that local hospitals have emergency response plans in place in the event of disaster.
On Tuesday Ingeominas raised the alert from yellow to orange after a tremor measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale was registered close to Galeras’ summit, as well as almost 400 tremors of varying intensity. Colombia’s Minister for the Interior German Vargas Lleras called for locals to evacuate the area.
Galeras last erupted in January. The eruption did not cause any deaths or injuries, but lava flows running down the sides of the volcano caused forest fires.
In 2009, the volcano, considered the most active in Colombia, erupted three times.