PRESS RELEASE

Government started assembly of a modern monitoring center in Hidroituango

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Press release of the Presidency of the Republic

With the assembly of a modern monitoring center in Hidroituango, 24 hours a day, the National Government welcomes one of the recommendations made by two teams of international experts: one from the US Army Corps of Engineers and another from the United Nations, who have already submitted their respective reports on the development of the emergency in this project, which agree that the risk there continues to be very high.

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This was indicated by the Minister of Mines and Energy, Germán Arce, at the end of the update meeting led by President Juan Manuel Santos at the Casa de Nariño this Saturday, which also included the participation of the Minister of the Environment, Luis Gilberto Murillo. ; the Director of Ideam, Ómar Franco, and the Director of the National Authority of Environmental Licenses (Anla), Claudia González.

"What decisions have been made based on the recommendations made to us by both the engineering corps and the United Nations team?" It is the assembly of a monitoring center, 24 hours a day, although the team has been reporting the The information that it produced was not being done in an integrated manner: the designers had information, the contractors others, we from the Ideam and the geological service other information.

"What we are doing is setting up a single monitoring center that collects all the technical information and allows us to monitor this as a complete system, not as independent events." That is another of the great recommendations of the Americans and the United Nations team. , and we can understand how these different risk events correlate and we can see the alerts that the data can give us to warn that a risk condition can materialize, "said the head of the Minas y Energía portfolio.

In addition, he informed that in that exercise he has been working since the middle of the week. "We hope this weekend to have the first equipment already connected to this monitoring center, which is being assembled right there in Hidroituango, next to the crisis room of the Unified Command Post (PMU), to be able to guarantee that the authorities all have permanent information and have their equipment 24 hours, monitoring any alert that allows us to maintain the condition we have achieved, and is that to date we have neither missing or killed on the occasion of the various events that have occurred.

"So that is a primary objective, which is to take care of people's lives, what we want is to reinforce the ability to foresee that some of these events materialize and we can send and maintain alert levels calibrated, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, "he said.

UN Environment Recommendations

At the same time, the Minister of Environment, Luis Gilberto Murillo, explained details of the report presented by the UN-Environment team of experts, who was in Hidroituango evaluating the risk scenarios.

Foto: Nelson Cárdenas - SIG

"They have established that we have a dam that is high risk, and that risk is associated with three main scenarios, some that are connected to the geotechnical risk of the mountainous mass or by landslide or damages to the powerhouse, which could trigger in the failure of the dam.

"The second scenario is that this unleashing would lead to a wave, as Minister Arce has just said, that will exceed the prey and also lead us to the failure of the dam.

"The third has to do with the dam itself: the top priority of level 385 to 410 and to 430, as has been established, can, by the way it was done to respond to the emergency, can generate some leaks and these filtrations could trigger in the failure of the dam, for which they recommend reinforcement of the priority filling, of the increase of the dam in these emergency conditions.

In addition to that, make a very permanent monitoring and strengthening that monitoring to establish what are the conditions that can generate alert.

In Minister indicated that based on these recommendations, the ANLA has already imposed monitoring measures and measures to make the strengthening of the priority.

Additionally, the Ministry of the Environment is studying the recommendations that UN Environment has made in the medium and long term, which will be announced later.

Behavior of the rains

Finally, the Director of Ideam, Ómar Franco, referred to the behavior of the rains in the area of ​​influence of Hidroituango.

Foto: Nelson Cárdenas - SIG

"What we have recorded in the last few days is an increase in rainfall in that region." We had rains during the night, particularly on average 2 to 10 millimeters of precipitation in the project area.

"It is important to note that this condition will remain, at least in this amount of rain, until Wednesday, however, in the entire area of ​​influence of the project, we will continue to record rainfall at least in what remains of the month of June, "he said.

He affirmed that for this reason in the lower basin of the Cauca River the red alert was established, "product of the project but also due to the condition of the landslide".

On the upper basin and the middle basin of the Cauca River, the Director of Ideam said that it is estimated that by the middle of June the flow condition will decrease.

"The project area will continue to show rainfall and therefore the call for attention is to be on high alert on the slopes near the project, because we will have landslides, such as those we have registered in recent days," he said.

This press release was published using an automatic translation system.