Colombia

Colombia: Volcano DREF operation no. MDRCO003

Attachments


Glide No. VO-2008-000046-COL

The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross and Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.

CHF 103,000 (USD 103,000 or EUR 65,438) has been allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the national society in delivering immediate assistance to some 2,250 families. Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

Summary: The Nevado del Huila volcano in Colombia began an eruptive process on April 14, 2008. There was a red alert I (imminent or ongoing eruption) emitted but was downgraded to orange level (II) (eruption in the next days or weeks due to the decrease in the number of seismological events). This DREF is focused on the purchase of relief items (food and non-food), disaster risk activities vehicle leasing and water and sanitation activities.

This operation is expected to be implemented in three months, and will therefore be completed by 18 July, 2008; a Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by 18 October, 2008).

The situation

On 14 April, according to the Volcanologic and Seismologic Observatory of Popayán in Colombia, the Nevado del Huila volcano, located along the Andean mountain range in the departments of Cauca, Huila and Tolima began an eruptive process. In consequence, the Colombian Institute of Geology and Minery (Instituto Colombiano de Geologia y Mineria – INGEOMINAS) declared a Red Alert Level I (imminent or ongoing eruption). This level of alert was subsequently downgraded to Orange Level (II): Eruption in the next days or weeks due to the decrease in the number of seismological events.

Local authorities, particularly the regional and local committees for disaster prevention and assistance in the municipalities nearby the volcano (Nátaga, La Plata, Paicol and Tesalia), are keeping their emergency and contingency plans activated. Electricity is being re-established which was suspended in the small town of Belalcazar (Páez). Approximately 600 families have been evacuated following these procedures, although some are now tending their fields during the day because of the decreased level of alert. The following chart shows the number of people evacuated by department:

DEPARTMENT
MUNICIPALITY
PEOPLE
FAMILIES
CAUCA
PAEZ
2500
500
INZA
250
50
HUILA
LA PLATA
50
15
PAICOL
90
15
TESALIA
50
8
NATAGA
65
12
TOTAL
3005
600

To date no affected areas are reported; neither are changing levels in the rivers. The alert level remains in Orange (II).

Contact information

- In Colombia: Walter Cotte, National Director of Operations and Relief, Colombian Red Cross Society, Bogotá; email: walter.cotte@cruzrojacolombiana.org; phone +571 437-6300, fax +571 473-6301

- In Lima: Giorgio Ferrario, Regional Representative of the South America Regional Representation Office; phone: + 511 221 8151; fax: + 511 441 3607; email: giorgio.ferrario@ifrc.org

- In Panama: Dario Alvarez, Acting Head of the Pan American Disaster Response Unit, Panama; phone: + 507 316 1001; fax + 507 316 1082; email: dario.alvarez@ifrc.org

- In Panama: Maria Alcazar, Resource Mobilization Coordinator, Americas; phone: + 507 380 0250; fax: + 507 317 1304; email: maria.alcazar@ifrc.org

- In Geneva: Pablo Medina, Operations Coordinator for the Americas; phone: phone + 41 79 2173376; fax: + 41 22 730 0395; email pablo.medina@ifrc.org.