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Volcano eruption turns deadly

At least 10 people were killed when the Nevado del Huila volcano in southern Colombia erupted this week and triggered avalanches of earth and debris that damaged houses and crops.

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At least 10 people were killed when a snow-capped volcano in southern Colombia erupted this week, Interior Minister Fabio Valencia said Saturday.

The Thursday eruption of Mount Huila, Colombia's highest active volcano, triggered two avalanches that affected area settlements, Valencia said.

"We sadly have a report of 10 people killed, and since we have not been able to reach some places we have been unable to determine if there are more" casualties, Valencia told reporters in Bogota.

Mount Huila, 240 kilometers (150 miles) southwest of Bogota and located in the province of the same name, erupted at 2145 GMT Thursday, forcing the evacuation of some 12,000 people living in the nearby area.

Avalanches triggered by the volcano destroyed at least six bridges and caused a river to overflow, authorities said.

At 5,364 meters (17,701 feet), Huila is among the highest peaks in the Andean Central Cordillera, in a region that is home to mainly indigenous communities.

The volcano last erupted on April 14, forcing about 3,500 people to evacuate.

A similar eruption in 1994 killed more than 1,000 people and caused widespread destruction.

Authorities initially reported that one person was injured, one was missing and some buildings were damaged when ice and snow came crashing down following the eruption.
 

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