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Alert level lowered at Galeras 22 February 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, eruptions, Galeras, natural hazards.
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Galeras, 20 February 2009, 15.29. Image from INGEOMINAS - Pasto (copyright INGEOMINAS)

The alert level for Galeras has been lowered by INGEOMINAS from Red (I), the highest level, to Orange (II), ‘eruption probable within days or weeks’. In a bulletin released at 12:45 local time (19:45 GMT) yesterday, the Pasto observatory reports that seismicity is significantly reduced and the volume of ash emission has declined (the bulletin reports an eruption column height of 700m), suggesting that the latest eruptions have released pressure within the volcanic system and reduced the likelihood of imminent eruption.

In reducing the alert level, the authorities have made it clear that the evacuation order for high-risk zones around the volcano remains in place. Throughout the current episode of eruptive activity from Galeras, the volcano’s neighbours have shown a marked reluctance to heed the advice of governmental and aid agencies and abandon their homes for the emergency shelters. The Colombian newspaper El Tiempo reported yesterday that only 257 people had taken up places in shelters with capacity for 6000. Now, accroding to anotherEl Tiempo story, it seems the local police are adopting direct methods of trying to get the locals to leave the danger area: they going door to door and telling people to their faces that it is time to evacuate.

‘It is better to take preventative measures so that we will have nothing to regret’, said the commander of the Nariño police, Colonel Willian Montezuma, who leads the campaign of persuasion. Door to door, the officers are searching through the villages in the zones of high risk from the volcano.

The police have tried to reassure people who do not want to leave their property and animals unguarded that ‘The security and support of all police units are guaranteed for all those citizens who find themselves caught up in such events’.

[Image: Ash emissions from Galeras on 20 February 2009 at 15:29 local time. Original image from Pasto Volcanological and Seismological Observatory (copyright INGEOMINAS, reproduced here for non-commercial purposes in accordance with the terms of use).]

For all our Galeras coverage: Galeras « The Volcanism Blog.

De roja a naranja bajó la alerta en el volcán Galeras, informó IngeominasEl Tiempo, 21 February 2009
Disminuye a naranja la alerta en el volcán GalerasEl Informador, 21 February 2009
A alerta naranja bajó el nivel del volcán GalerasEl Espectador, 21 February 2009
Puerta a puerta le piden a nariñenses que se cuiden del GalerasEl Tiempo, 22 February 2009

Global Volcanism Program – Galeras – summary information for Galeras (1501-08=)
Portal Corporativo de INGEOMINAS – Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Pasto – Pasto volcanological observatory main page

The Volcanism Blog