Handout picture provided by the Colombian Geological Service that shows the activity of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, near Manizales, Colombia, 31 March 2023. T EFE-EPA/Colombian Geological Service /EDITORIAL USE ONLY/ SPECIAL NOTICE - THIS IMAGE IS TO BE USED SOLELY TO ILLUSTRATE NEWS REPORTING OR COMMENTARY ON THE FACTS OR EVENTS DEPICTED IN THIS IMAGE WITH THE ORIGINAL TEXT (MANDATORY CREDIT)

Colombia’s Petro orders evacuation of 2,500 families from volcano area

Bogota, Apr 5 (EFE).- Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro on Wednesday ordered the acceleration of “the preventive evacuation of 2,500 families” from areas near the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, which is still on orange alert, indicating the probability of an eruption in the coming days or weeks.

“We have asked the departmental council for risk management to speed up the preventive evacuation of 2,500 families who are at high risk due to the Nevado del Ruiz contingency,” Petro said in a message on his Twitter account.

The president met with authorities to analyze the situation on Wednesday and said that “the government is dealing with the situation first-hand and coordinating all the capacities.”

A major eruption of this volcano, located in the Los Nevados National Park between the departments of Caldas and Tolima, on Nov. 13, 1985, caused Colombia’s biggest natural disaster.

The eruption of that volcano and the melting of its glaciers caused an avalanche that devastated the town of Armero, in the department of Tolima, where more than 23,000 of its 25,000 inhabitants died.

In its latest statement, the Colombian Geological Service (SGC) said that the volcano continued the “recording of seismicity of rock fracturing inside the volcanic edifice,” adding that there were 5,200 seismic events on Tuesday.

“During the early hours of today, April 5, more than 2,600 earthquakes have been registered,” said the report, which also highlighted that there were 7 earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 2.0 ML (local magnitude).

The “maximum magnitude reached was 3.9 ML “, recorded at 2:16 am on Wednesday, the SGC said.

According to the agency, 3.9 is “the highest magnitude for this seismic source ever since instrumental monitoring began in 1985 in that area of the volcano.”

“Seismic activity linked to the movement of fluids within volcanic channels continues to be recorded, associated with confirmed ash emissions,” the statement added. EFE