Colombia-US Binational Exchange works toward improving preparedness in communities near volcanoes.

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Could what happened at Nevado del Ruiz in 1985 happen in the Pacific Northwest? And if it did, are we prepared?

One of the most tragic volcanic events of the 20th century occurred in Colombia, in 1985, when an eruption of Nevado del Ruiz produced lahars that swept down river valleys and destroyed communities in its path. Mount Rainier and other volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest's Cascade Range are similar to Nevado del Ruiz in many respects—massive amounts of snow and ice, a long history of lahars, and narrow valleys leading to populated areas.

In 2013, the Colombia-US Bi-national Exchange was created to help scientists, emergency managers and first responders in both countries to learn from the events in Colombia and to work toward improving disaster preparedness in communities located near volcanoes. Watch a video about the Colombia-US Bi-national Exchange and learn more about how you can prepare for the next volcanic eruption.