Colombia: Galeras Volcano OCHA Situation Report No. 4

Ref: OCHA/GVA – 2006/115
OCHA Situation Report No. 4
Galeras Volcano - Colombia

This situation report is based on information provided by the office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Colombia, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as well as from the Colombian Red Cross.


1. Since 28 March 2006, the Colombian Institute of Geology and Mining (INGEOMINAS) has maintained alert level II for the Galeras Volcano (alert level II indicates a likelihood of an eruption in days or weeks).

2. The population living in at-risk areas totals 7,935 inhabitants, principally located in three municipalities within the department of Nariño; Pasto, La Florida and Nariño.

3. INGEOMINAS reported that between June 12th and 20th, the levels of activity of the Galeras volcano remained relatively low. Activity was characterized by events associated with interior fluid movements at superficial levels. The institution added that there are acoustic levels of activity, emission of gas (principally water vapor) and formation of small ash columns, which can be observed from Pasto and towns around Galeras. On June 12th, there were three ash emissions with heights of between 500 m and 1,400 m, along with an emission of white gas at a height of 200 m.

4. An aerial reconnaissance conducted on June 12th allowed for confirmation that the lava dome continued to cool and close. In addition, gas emission processes are low, and principally verified via periphery dome sectors. On June 15th, a column of gray ash was observed, reaching a height of 600m.


5. The Galeras crisis in now into its forth month and despite efforts of the local government to encourage evacuation to safer areas an unknown number of people are still living in at-risk areas. Non-confirmed estimations are reporting that approximately 30-40% of the population has not left their homes. The Colombian Red Cross (CRC) Nariño Sectional Office reported that on the night of June 22nd, the following population was registered in shelters:

National and International Response

6. According to the General Direction of “Sistema de Attenciòn y Prevenciñon de Desastres” (DGPAD):

- There have been advances in the preparation of the overall strategy to resettle the population living in at-risk areas.

- Approximately 200 requests for land purchases by persons interested in definitive relocation have been made.

- Preparation of a survey on the socio-economic profile of vulnerable populations in the area is ongoing.

- CRC continues to manage the 6 temporary shelters in the Pasto Municipality.

7. IOM: is working on the construction of 450 temporary shelters in the Plazuelas shelter (La Florida municipality).

8. PAHO/WHO: continues to provide technical assistance to Departmental Committee for Emergency Prevention and Response (CREPAD).

9. OCHA is preparing scenarios to support Departmental Committee for Emergency Prevention and Response, in coordination with the Inter-agency team, the French Red Cross and the CRC.

10. UNETE continues coordination meetings between the UNS and Disasters General Direction for Prevention and Response preparing a checklist of recommendations to help the work of temporary shelters camp managers.

11. This Situation Report and information on ongoing emergencies is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Map: Colombia: Galeras Volcano - Situation map

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officer:

Ms. Marie Spaak
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 21 63

Press contact:

(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, Direct Tel. + 41-22-917 2653
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, Direct Tel. +1-917-367 51 26
Mr. Brian Grogan, Direct Tel. +1-212-963 11 43


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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