37 years after the tragedy: today the country remembers the victims of the Armero natural disaster

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With Eucharists, flowers, dance and music, a tribute will be made to the victims who lost their lives in Armero, after the eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano that devastated that area of ​​the country almost four decades ago

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37 years after the tragedy: the country today remembers the victims of the Armero natural catastrophe

Photo: Caracol Radio

Today, November 13, Colombia pays tribute to the thousands of people who lost their lives after being buried in the midst of the tragedy that the municipality of Armero experienced, in the department Tolima, 37 years ago. It was on November 13, 1985 when the Nevado del Ruíz volcano erupted and took everything it found in its path. It is estimated, according to the authorities, that more than 25,000 people died in this natural catastrophe, one of the worst in the country's history. That day, recalls the national press, the white city, the cotton capital, disappeared.

“In commemoration of the 37 years after the Armero tragedy occurred, we want to bring a message of encouragement and solidarity with the victims and their families, as well as the survivors. We remember them, we are with them and the pain that this tragedy has caused us is still present (…) After many years of not having been able to carry it out, we are going to have a shower of flowers by the Colombian Air Force that will be released on the main park of the Antiguo Armero”, commented Cristina María Perdomo, mayoress of Armero Guayabal, a territory recognized as the New Armero.

37 years after the tragedy: the country today remembers the victims of the natural catastrophe in Armero < /p>Rescue workers unsuccessfully try to rescue the body of Omaira Sánchez who was trapped in the rubble of her house after an avalanche caused by the eruption of Nevado del Ruiz destroyed the town of Armero in Colombia.

To commemorate the tragic date, different activities will take place in the area, including a mass presided over by Monsignor José Luis Henao Cadavid, bishop of the Diocese of Líbano-Honda. This will be followed by a floral offering, a musical presentation, an intervention by Father Diego Jaramillo and another Eucharist. Likewise, in Armero Guayabal, a vigil will be held in the main park of the municipality. There will be dance and a concert of sacred music.

Since the tragedy occurred, the country's authorities have taken different measures. In 2014, in fact, it was confirmed that Nevado del Ruiz was the most monitored in the world and the most active in the country, in accordance with the directives of the Manizales Volcanological Observatory. “You have to make a difference between what is the prediction of the moment in which an eruptive event will occur, which is what we prepare for as a volcanological observatory, say in what moment it will occur, but we cannot predict with day, hour or month that an eruption occurs, what we can do is a general prognosis, that diagnosis that we do multi-parameter monitoring, we translate it into activity levels”, it was said, at the time, from the direction of that entity.

Taking this into account, and to avoid Should a similar tragedy occur in the future, Risk Management at the Manizales Mayor's Office reported that there is a complete network of institutional support that would make it possible to respond to such an eventuality.

37 years after the tragedy: the country today remembers the victims of the natural catastrophe in Armero < /p>Pope John Paul the Second visited an armorer the year after the tragedy, on July 1, 1986. In the photo he prays prostrate before a giant cement cross for the victims of the avalanche.

Alexa Morales, Head of the Risk Management Unit, explained that: “the rural area is the one that would be most affected in the event of an eruption of Nevado del Ruiz, which is why our relief agencies cover the different jurisdictions and several times a year they carry out the census of the population that is sitting in the area of ​​influence, We are currently working on the early warning system that will be installed in the Chinchiná River and at kilometer 41 so that families can evacuate quickly when a red alert is issued for the volcano.”

In a conversation with the newspaper El Nuevo Día, Alfenibal Tinoco, president of the Federation of Armeritas, Fedearmero, spoke about the meaning of the political control debate promoted by congresswoman Martha Alfonso from Tolima regarding the article 15 of Law 1632 of 2013, the one with which it seeks to honor the victims of Armero and the territory itself. This proposes the development of the National Day of Remembrance and Solidarity with the victims of the tragedy.

“Really, what is contemplated there has not been developed in greater importance or coverage,” he denounced in his talk with that means of communication. “The political control debate has to do with the government informing us of the state of progress of the intersectoral commission and the single registry of urban owners. In addition, that Icetex tell us how the Omaira Sánchez scholarship has been implemented ”, he added.