COLOMBIA – Authorities in southwestern Colombia have raised alert levels on Tuesday after a 5.6 magnitude earthquake hit the border region, sparking concerns that two nearby volcanoes might erupt in a matter of days. Colombia’s Geological Service have changed the alert level of two volcanoes from yellow to orange. The two volcanoes are Cerro Negro de Mayasquer and Chiles, both active on Colombia’s southern border to Ecuador. The orange alert level is defined by the Geological Service as “probable eruption in term of days to weeks.” The earthquake that hit the border region causes a scare on both side of the border. Officials in the Colombian town of Cumbal, near the quake’s epicenter, were quoted as saying by The Associated Press that they formed an emergency committee to survey possible damage. But so far, there were no reports of injuries in the town of 36,000 residents, the majority of them members of an indigenous tribe. “It was really strong, every house” felt it, Jose Diomedes Juezpesan, the town’s top official, told AP. If the volcanoes are to erupt, it will mostly affect the state Nariño. Local state governments have started to take security measures in order prevent tragedies. Nariño government officials have recommended suspending school classes, delivered a special communication system to indigenous communities in the area and offered the indigenous communities tents if the evacuate their premise while the volcanoes are on high alert. Neither one of the volcanoes have erupted in the past 160,000 years. EP
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