President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday called on more than 2,000 people who live in the vicinity of the central Colombian Nevado del Ruiz volcano to respond to evacuation orders.
The volcano, located between the central departments of Tolima and Caldas, briefly erupted on Saturday, prompting authorities to issue evacuation orders on the same day. Local vulcanologists have warned more eruptions are probable.
According to Santos, only 1,710 out of 4,000 people living on the slopes of the volcano had responded to evacuation orders.
“They have not evacuated all who should have been evacuated. How many were supposed to be evacuated? 4,000 people were supposed to be evacuated and 1,710 were evacuated. What does this say us? That we lack education and a little more collaboration and social discipline. Here we have to improve,” said Santos from the nearby city of Ibague.
Santos said there had been communication problems, especially between the central government and local government agencies.
“There were, for example, problems in the communication with Manizales Vulcan and Seismological Observatory. Here we need — lesson learned — a parallel information channel,“ concluded Santos.
The 17,457 foot Nevado del Ruiz volcano is one of the deadliest volcanoes in Colombia. An avalanche following an eruption in 1985 wiped away the town of Armero, killing 25,000.