1999 Armenia, Colombia earthquake

The 1999 Armenia, Colombia earthquake occurred on 25 January at 13:19 with an epicenter 25 miles (40 km) west south west of Ibagué, Colombia.[2] The shock heavily affected the city of Armenia, Colombia in the Quindío department, and about 18 other towns and 28 additional villages in the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis region departments, and to a lesser degree, the cities of Pereira and Manizales. The earthquake had a magnitude of 6.2 on the moment magnitude scale and was the strongest earthquake to strike Colombia for 16 years.[3]

1999 Armenia, Colombia earthquake
1999 Armenia, Colombia earthquake is located in Colombia
1999 Armenia, Colombia earthquake
UTC time1999-01-25 18:19:18
ISC event1443400
Local dateJanuary 25, 1999
Local time13:19:18 COT
Magnitude6.2 Mw [1]
Depth17 km (11 mi) [2]
Epicenter4°30′N 75°42′W / 4.5°N 75.7°WCoordinates: 4°30′N 75°42′W / 4.5°N 75.7°W [1]
Areas affectedColombia
Peak acceleration0.55 g
Casualties1,900 dead [1]


This area has a well known high seismic risk, due to the triple junction that occurs at the northwest corner of the South American Plate where the Nazca, Cocos, and Pacific plates converge. About 60% of the existent poorly engineered structures in Armenia collapsed, due to the high number of old structures, built without technical requirements and the lack of urban planning and land studies.


The earthquake hit Colombia's coffee-growing region, and toppled tower blocks, hotels, and historic churches in Armenia. Most of the buildings that collapsed were old and poorly constructed, or were built on poor soil such as old landfill sites or steep slopes.[3] The newer structures, for the most part, survived intact due to safety measures being established in 1984.[3] The worst hit part of the country were regional capitals of Armenia and Pereira.[3] In Armenia, about 10 miles (17 km) south of the epicentre, single-story homes were demolished.[3]

The mainshock produced a rough casualty estimate of about 1,000 people. The first (17:40) aftershock produced a still indeterminate number of victims among the people trying to remove their goods from the semi-collapsed structures. The corpses that were retrieved were carried to the local University of Quindío auditorium to be identified by their relatives. Since the forensic services were out, many of them could not be recognized and were buried in common tombs.

The structures of many hospitals were damaged, and the resources available for health care were insufficient even before the event. Furthermore, the area had limited reaction plans for disasters and little experience with triage. As a consequence, the attention to the victims was chaotic. About 4,000 people with various degrees of lesions were attended to in the remaining health care centers of the city. An undetermined number of injured victims (many of them unidentified) were carried by airplane to different cities (mainly Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali), and out of the country.

The number of missing persons as a result of the earthquake is estimated to be near 3,900. Some factors involved in the disappearance of these people are the security issues due to the riots, the collapse of communications and roads, the lack of coordination of the rescue forces, dispatch of the injured victims and identification of the corpses. Mainly the injuries in the earthquakes were made by collapsing buildings which broke bones, caused concussions, bruises, cuts and many more injuries.


A shock occurred at 15:40 (22:40 UTC) with a magnitude of 5.4 on the Richter scale. Other aftershocks that caused panic among the inhabitants were on the 29th at 23:33 (M4.2) and the 31st at 03:03 (M3.5)


Colombian authorities imposed a dawn-till-dusk curfew to allow rescue workers to work unhindered.[3] Looting was widespread in Armenia after residents, disturbed by the slow movement of the relief effort, broke into food stores and stole supplies.[3] Then Colombian president Andrés Pastrana postponed a trip to Germany to attend a World Bank meeting to view the destruction himself.[3] He later had to send soldiers to the afflicted area to restore order.[3]


The main economic activity of the region, the Colombian coffee industry was heavily affected. About 8,000 coffee farms were completely or partially destroyed, and 13,000 structures of several kinds of enterprises and industries were damaged and went temporarily or permanently out of service. The banks and financial entities could not dispense money for several weeks.

In January 2002 the new community of El Cantaro was finished.[4] Many of the 125 families that gathered to celebrate the completion of their homes were chosen from among the neediest.[4] An ecological park was created further down the eponymous stream.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Utsu, T. R. (2002), "A List of Deadly Earthquakes in the World: 1500–2000", International Handbook of Earthquake & Engineering Seismology, Part A, Volume 81A (First ed.), Academic Press, p. 710, ISBN 978-0124406520
  2. ^ a b Magnitude 6.2 Colombia Archived 2008-05-12 at the Wayback Machine United States Geological Survey
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i 1999: Colombia quake leaves hundreds dead BBC News
  4. ^ a b c 'From death to life': Three years after earthquake, El Cantaro celebrates new homes Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) by Elizabeth Soto and Frank Albrecht


  • Arango, J. D. & Quintero, B. E. Dianóstico del Sismo del 25 de enero de 1999. In: Boletin de la Red Sismológica del Eje Cafetero. Vol.8 Manizales: 2000 46–53 p.
  • Baker, V. R. Regional Landforms Analysis. NASA, Red mundial, 2001.
  • Cardona, O. D. Lessons in Seismic Engineering and Disaster Prevention. Special Report. The Earthquake of Armenia, Colombia, January 25, 1999. Geohazards International. Red mundial, 2000. Www.geohaz.org/member/report/cardeng99.html

External links

2015 Colombian landslide

On 18 May 2015 a major landslide hit the town of Salgar, in Antioquia, Colombia. At least 78 people died in the disaster, making it the deadliest single-event disaster in Colombia since the 1999 Armenia, Colombia earthquake.

British Red Cross

The British Red Cross Society is the United Kingdom body of the worldwide neutral and impartial humanitarian network the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The society was formed in 1870, and is a registered charity with more than 32,500 volunteers and 3,500 staff. At the heart of their work is providing help to people in crisis, both in the UK and overseas. The Red Cross is committed to helping people without discrimination, regardless of their ethnic origin, nationality, political beliefs or religion.[2]

List of 20th-century earthquakes

This list of 20th-century earthquakes is a global list of notable earthquakes that occurred in the 20th century. After 1900 most earthquakes have some degree of instrumental records and this means that the locations and magnitudes are more reliable than for earlier events. To prevent this list becoming unmanageable, only those of magnitude 6 and above are included unless they are notable for some other reason.

List of association footballers who died during their careers

This list does not include footballers who died on the pitch during a game or training, or because of injuries or other health issues suffered on the pitch. Those names go in a separate article. Please refer to the article List of footballers who died while playing.

List of deadly earthquakes since 1900

The following list compiles known earthquakes that have caused one or more fatalities since 1900. The list incorporates high quality earthquake source (i.e., origin time, location and earthquake magnitude) and fatality information from several sources.

Earthquake locations are taken from the Centennial Catalog and the updated Engdahl, van der Hilst and Buland earthquake catalog, which is complete to December 2005. From January 2006, earthquake locations are from the United States Geological Survey’s Preliminary Determination of Epicenters (PDE) monthly listing. Preferred magnitudes are moment magnitudes taken from the Global Centroid Moment Tensor Database and its predecessor, the Harvard Centroid Moment Tensor Database. Where these magnitude estimates are unavailable, the preferred magnitude estimate is taken from the Centennial Catalog and the PDE.

Five columns of fatality estimates are provided. The first two columns are derived from the PDE monthly catalog and indicate deaths resulting from earthquake shaking only (i.e., from partial or total building collapse), and total fatalities resulting from earthquake shaking and secondary effects, such as tsunami, landslide, fire, liquefaction or other factors (e.g., heart failure). Where these secondary effects are reported, they are indicated by “T”, “L”, “F” or “Lq”, respectively. Fatality estimates in the PDE are generally obtained from official sources (e.g., local or national government officials, humanitarian agencies, emergency management agencies, etc.) or media reports within days to weeks after the earthquake. The PDE catalog is not updated if more detailed information becomes available after its final publication, usually four months after the earthquake.

The third fatality column is taken from the Utsu catalog of deadly earthquakes, and generally represents the total deaths resulting from an earthquake. The Utsu catalog is complete up until late 2003. The fourth column is derived from the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT). EM-DAT has been developed and maintained by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters at the Brussels campus of the University of Louvain, Belgium and is a global, multi-hazard (e.g., earthquake, cyclone, drought, flood, volcano, extreme temperatures, etc.) database of human impacts and economic losses. Earthquake source parameters in the EM-DAT are often absent, incomplete, or erroneous. Consequently, several events may be missed in the automated catalog associations. Furthermore, where the impact of an earthquake spans political boundaries, database entries are often subdivided by country. For significant events, the observed fatalities are aggregated and manually associated.

The final fatality column is for other sources of shaking deaths and indicates improved fatality estimates from official reports and detailed scholarly studies, where available.

The death tolls presented below vary widely in quality and in many cases are estimates only, particularly for the most catastrophic events that result in high fatalities. Note that in some cases, fatalities have been documented, but no numerical value of deaths is given. In these cases, fatality estimates are left blank. Many of the events listed with no numerical value are aftershocks where additional fatalities are aggregated with the main shock.

* Most fatalities attributed to tsunami

Urban Search and Rescue Florida Task Force 1

Urban Search and Rescue Florida Task Force 1 (FL-TF1) is a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force based in Miami-Dade County, Florida and sponsored by the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department. The mission of FL-TF1 is to respond to natural and man-made disasters to provide search and rescue as well as both medical and communications support.As with all FEMA Task Forces, FL-TF1 is trained in physical search and rescue in damaged or collapsed structures as well as in areas that have sustained significant flooding. Additionally the task force specializes in providing medical care at the scene of a disaster for trapped victims. FL-TF1 is also specifically trained in satellite communication systems that can be used in areas where normal communication infrastructure has been damaged.

Once notified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the team has a six-hour window to mobilize 70 team members to report to a prearranged departure point. FL-TF1 is composed mostly of personnel from the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department but other outside specialists are brought in as needed. In addition, FL-TF1 has nine FEMA certified canine teams, each composed of a handler and a search dog.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.