Residents in western Columbia woke to find their cities and towns covered in volcanic ash Wednesday after an area volcano began spewing an ash cloud as high as one kilometer into the atmosphere.
The director of the Volcano and Seismology Observatory in Manizales, says the area can expect more ash to come though experts say they are not expecting lava flows.
[Gloria Patricia Cortez, Director, Manizales Volcano and Seismology Observatory]:
"It is not strictly categorized as a large eruption but it is in the process of an explosion which is expelling ash. And given the direction of the wind and the dispersion seen in the first reports - we've seen confirmed reports of fine ash materials, relatively fine, in urban areas and in the rural areas of the Manizales and Villa Maria municipalities and obviously in the area around the volcano from the first few hours."
Airports in Manizales, Pereira, Armenia and Cartago were all temporarily closed because of ash on the runways and the danger the volcanic material presents to engines.
Health authorities have recommended the use of masks while in the streets, but have not cancelled classes at area schools or universities.
[Carlos Correa, Pereira Resident]:
"There is always a lot of ash and when cars pass they kick off the dust and it always harmful for your lungs, for your health."
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