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Volcano eruption forces evacuation of thousands of people in southwestern Colombia
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11:25, June 08, 2009

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Around 8,000 people were ordered to leave their homes Sunday in Narino province, southwestern Colombia, after a mild eruption of the Galeras Volcano in the province.

The 4,276-meter-high volcano, located near the southern Colombian city of Pasto, had a mild eruption at about 7:20 a.m. local time (1220 GMT) Sunday morning, said Martha Calvache, director of the national Geology and Mining Institute.

There have been no reports of casualties or material damage.

The institute declared a red alert which means an eruption is under way. The regional government ordered an evacuation of the area around Galeras, which is home to around 8,000 people and is some 700 km away from the capital of Bogota.

The volcano could be calm for several days, Calvache said. But she warned that it could reactivate, to which she said people should pay close attention.

Colombia has 38 volcanoes, 15 of which are active. After a long period of dormancy, Galeras became active in 1988, and erupted in the early 1990s, in 2004 and in 2006. The most serious one was in 1993, which killed nine people.

Source: Xinhua

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