Colombia: Preliminary report no. 1: Nevado del Huila volcanic eruption

Situation Report
Originally published
Avalanches caused by the eruption of the Nevado del Huila volcano affected nearly 5.000 people in Cauca and Huila departments.


According to INGEOMINAS, seismic activity and one eruption were registered since last night in the Nevado del Huila Volcano, causing avalanches in the Paez river basin and an increased flow in other river basins, such as Simbalá and Magdalena. The eruption took place at 2:57 a.m. Rescue organisms reported that nearly 5.000 people, mainly indigenous population from the municipality of Belalcázar in Cauca, have been temporally relocated and some more are expected to move in the next hours. According to preliminary information provided by the Nation Direction of Prevention and Response to Natural Disasters, no victims have been registered. However, the municipalities affected by the avalanche, resulted isolated by the destruction of 14 bridges.

  • Huila - La Plata, Paicol, Tesalia and Natagá, municipalities located along the border of the Paez River have been the most affected in this department. Preliminary information reports 1.500 hectares of crops affected, and the loss of equipment.
  • Cauca - The most affected municipalities are Belalcázar and Inzá. 3.000 people form Belalcázar have been relocated since last night to the rural areas of La Mesa de Caloto and La Mesa de Belalcázar. Even though Toribío and Jambaló municipalities have an alert, there is still no information available about the effects of the avalanches there.
National Response

The Regional Committee for Disaster Prevention and Attention in Huila is sustaining a meeting with the Pan-American Health Organization to take actions to face the emergency. INGEOMINAS is monitoring volcanic activity.

The Regional Comitee for Disasters' Prevention and Attention in Cauca called for a meeting at 9 a.m. with the presence of the National Direction for Disaster Prevention and Attention and OCHA to inform on the situation and coordinate response actions.

International Response

The UN UNETE team is holding a meeting with the National System for Disaster Prevention and Attention, to coordinate prevention actions and monitor the situation.

Local Response

With the support of the National System for Disaster Attention and Prevention, all contingency plans are active and the local response has been efficient. Prevention measures and communication systems among local communities have successfully worked.

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.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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