Colombia: Galeras Volcano OCHA Situation Report No. 5

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2006/0122
OCHA Situation Report No. 5
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 (CRC).


1. On 12 July 2006 the Colombian Institute of Geology and Mining (INGEOMINAS) declared Alert Level I (Eruption Imminent or in Course) for Galeras Volcano. INGEOMINAS had already reported that between 9 and 11 July 2006, the activity of the volcano had increased and that seismic signals associated with interior fluid movements at superficial levels were registered. Yesterday, 12 July 2006, at 10:58 a.m. local time, the first eruption of an explosive nature was registered. The explosion was accompanied by the emission of pyroclasts (incandescent rocks), which caused small fires. Ashes were spread towards the communities of Conzacá, Samaniego, Linares, Ancuya, Sandoná, and La Florida (located between 10 and 30 km from the main crater). A column of volcanic gases and vapour rose up to 8 km from the crater.

2. Two subsequent eruptions occurred later during the day, at 2:30 p.m. and 9:02 p.m. respectively, showing similar characteristics as that of the morning.

3. INGEOMINAS maintains constant monitoring on these events.


4. According to the "Dirección General de Prevención y Atención de Desastres" (DGPAD, General Direction for Disaster Preparedness and Assistance), around 8,500 persons (2,400 families) living in high risk areas need to be evacuated towards 12 temporary shelter facilities that have been set up in the municipalities of Pasto, La Florida and Nariño. According to CRC, until now, 2,263 people have been accommodated in these shelters, while more people are expected to arrive soon. Food and water supplies in the shelters are sufficient for now and needs assessments are ongoing.

5. No victims have been reported.

National response

6. A joint national commission including representatives of the ministries of: Defense, Social Welfare, Interior and Justice and the DGPAD, will hold a technical meeting in the municipality of Pasto with local authorities, the Comité Regional de Prevención y Atención de Desastres (CREPAD, Regional Committee for Disaster Preparedness and Assistance) as well as the local Committees for Disaster Preparedness and Assistance, CLOPAD.

7. The Civil Defense, National Police, Army and Air Force have already activated their contingency plans. A similar measure has been taken by regional heath institutions of the department of Nariño, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Public Welfare,

8. The CRC also activated its contingency plan. Approximately 160 volunteers have started managing the emergency shelters. Other volunteers in the departments of Caldas, Cundinamarca and Tolima are on stand-by.

9. According to the CRC, as a preventive measure, main intakes of water distribution systems in Pasto have been closed in order to avoid a possible contamination of drinking water by volcanic ash.

International response

10. The Humanitarian Coordinator, through the UN Emergency Technical Team (UNEET), maintains permanent contacts with the DGPAD, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the CRC and is ready to provide UN assistance if so requested by the Government.

11. In Pasto, WHO, IOM, WFP, the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) and OCHA - which already deployed two officers on site - are providing technical assistance to the CREPAD and the CLOPAD.

12. UN staff and their families, around 15 people, have been evacuated to a safe area located at approximately 35 km south of Pasto.

13. The French Red Cross is providing technical assistance to the CRC in managing several shelters.

14. OXFAM is providing technical assistance for setting up water and sanitation facilities in the shelter areas.

15. The Spanish NGO "Solidaridad Internacional" is collecting support information for the CREPAD in coordination with OCHA.

16. OCHA remains in close contact with the Office of the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Colombia and will provide further information as it becomes available.

17. This situation report, together with additional information on other ongoing emergencies is also available on

Tel. +41-22-917 1234
Fax: +41-22-917 0023

In case of emergency only:
Tel. +41-22-917 2010

Desk Officer:
Ms. Isabel Garcia-Gill
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 1549

Press contact:
(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs - Direct Tel. +41-22-917 2653
(NY) Ms. Stephanie Bunker - Direct Tel. +1-917-892 1669


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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