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Colombia Volcano Erupts, Thousands Flee

Breaking Volcanic Alert
Columbia, S.A.
: The Nevado del Huila volcano is seen in this aerial view, at the southwestern state of Huila, Colombia, Thursday, in this Feb. 22, 2007, file photo. The volcano erupted twice late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning prompting evacuations and causing significant damage but no injuries, said authorities. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

(AP) -- Thousands of people were evacuated after a long-dormant volcano erupted late Tuesday and again early Wednesday, provoking avalanches and floods that swept away houses and bridges. The Nevado del Huila volcano's eruptions were its first on record since Colombia was colonized by the Spanish 500 years ago. There are about 10,000 people living in the area around the volcano, and about 3,500 had been evacuated, Luz Amanda Pulido, director of the national disaster office, told The Associated Press after flying over the volcano in southwest Colombia. There were no reports of deaths or injuries. The eruption sent an avalanche of rocks down the volcano's sides and into the Paez and Simbola rivers, causing them to flood. "The bridges were swept away, the highway used by the indigenous in the zone was destroyed for various kilometers (miles) and the problem we have now is the lack of a route to deliver goods and medicines to the population," Police Gen. Orlando Paez said.

YELLOWSTONE - the U.S. Geological Survey's Yellowstone Volcano Observatory has released a preliminary report on the potential dangers posed by the volcanic and geothermal activity in Yellowstone National Park. Bottom line: there's not much danger on a day-to-day basis. "Possible future violent events in the active hydrothermal, magmatic, and tectonic system of Yellowstone National Park pose potential hazards to park visitors and infrastructure. Most of the national park and vicinity are sparsely populated, but significant numbers of people as well as park resources could nevertheless be at risk from these hazards. Depending on the nature and magnitude of a particular hazardous event and the particular time and season when it might occur, 70,000 to more than 100,000 persons could be affected; the most violent events could affect a broader region or even continent-wide areas." You can download the report, it's a 99-page PDF.
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