The mountains of Colombia are part of the Andean Volcanic Belt, and there has been seismic activity including several major earthquakes during the 20th century, and the 1985 eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano which killed 23,000 people (see Dante's Peak on CJ3B.info for more details.)
The Armenia, Colombia earthquake of 25 January 1999, was actually centered southwest of the city of Ibagué, which is known as the "Music Capital of Colombia." The quake had a magnitude of 6.2, and was felt as far away as Bogotá. The heaviest damage was done in the nearby city of Armenia, in the Department of Quindío, the heart of Colombia's coffee-growing region. Armenia is now well known as the location of the biggest "Yipao" festival celebrating the Willys Jeep.
An estimated 1,900 people died, and thousands more were injured, when the earthquake struck on a Sunday afternoon, badly damaging coffee farms as well as cities. More than half of Armenia's population of 270,000 was displaced. Many single-story homes of older masonry construction collapsed, along with apartment buildings, churches and hospitals. (AP Photo)
Around the world, Jeeps are often called in to help with transportation during earthquake rescue and recovery operations. In Quindío there were already thousands of Willys Jeeps in the area, ready to continue carrying people and supplies.
The AP caption on this photo reads: "A Willys taxi ferries passengers on a back road to a farm near Calarcá, Colombia, Feb. 6, 1999. It was no surprise to see the workhorse Jeeps pitching in following the Jan. 25 earthquake. Throughout the western coffee growing region of Colombia, the boxy, plodding, gas-guzzling Willys is a mainstay of rural transportation." (AP Photo/Jaime Puebla)
"A Willys Jeep driver talks to a fruit andvegetable vendor in Calarcá, Colombia, a city hit hard by January'searthquake, Feb. 6, 1999. Prized by collectors in the United States, theJeeps are also the object of cult-like devotion by those who own and drive them in Colombia, mostly humble farmers and taxi drivers." (AP Photo/Jaime Puebla)
"Feb. 8, 1999, at a factory in Armenia, Colombia, thecity hit hardest by January's earthquake, workers repair a Willys Jeep produced two years ago for Colombia's anti-drug police.Headed by a Colombian engineer who once designed chassis for GeneralMotors, Willys of Colombia (Willco) hopes to cash in on the reputation of theoriginal Willys Jeeps during a half-century of use on Colombia'sunforgiving backroads." (AP Photo/Jaime Puebla)
See more on the Jeeps built by Willco in the 1990's in Colombia Loves Willys on CJ3B.info.
The effect of the earthquake on the lives of the residents, is still felt in Armenia and the Quindío area of Colombia.
Thanks to The Associated Press for the photos, and to Bob Christy for finding them. Map courtesy of Geology.com. -- Derek Redmond
See more Jeeps in Colombia, including photos from the "Yipao" Festivals in Calarcá and Armenia.
See other Jeeps Around the World on CJ3B.info.
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