Colombians leave their homes because of rumbling volcano

At least 7,500 people have been ordered to leave their homes near a volcano in Colombia amid fears it will erupt. The Colombian Institute of Geology and Mines said it had detected increased seismic activity around Galeras volcano in the south-east province of Narino. Emergency workers began knocking on the doors of poor farmers on Tuesday, issuing a mandatory evacuation order.

"We can't wait until it occurs before taking action," said Interior and Justice Minister Sabas Pretelt. The evacuation came some three weeks after the institute raised its warning for Galeras to level two, signifying "a probable eruption within days or weeks". The government said it was providing shelter and food for those leaving their homes, while schools and businesses were being closed. However, some residents said they were reluctant to leave their homes and livestock. "I always have a packed suitcase ready, a flashlight and a radio," said Aida Vallejo, from the town of Pasto. Galeras' last major eruption in 1993 killed at least nine people, including several scientists taking measurements in the crater.

It is 20 years since Colombia's Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupted, burying a town in a landslide and killing 25,000 people, reports the AP. I.L.

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