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4/15/2008

Thousands Flee Colombia Volcano Eruption

Breaking Earth News
Columbia, S.A.
Nevado del Huila volcano has erupted in a shower of hot ash, prompting authorities to evacuate thousands of people and declare a state of alert. There were no reports of damage or injuries. The volcano, about 180 miles southwest of Bogota in the northern Andes, erupted at 11:08 p.m. Monday (0008 Eastern Tuesday). Authorities were unable to estimate the size of the eruption. The eruption amounted to a "Level Red" - the most severe designation for volcanoes - but darkness made it difficult to gauge precisely what had happened. The volcano was expelling ash. "Other types of material could come, like lava, but we don't at the moment know the exact situation." Between 13,000 and 15,000 people who live near the volcano were being evacuated. Authorities warned of possible avalanches and urged local officials to monitor the volume of rivers near the volcano. The volcano stood silent for more than 400 years, releasing only columns of steam, until an eruption last year which caused damaging mud flows.
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