The tragedy in Armero, the result of a massive eruption scattering over 35 million tonnes of material into the air and surrounding areas which killed over 25.000 people, was later to be declared by Pope John Paul II to be Holy Land.
The tragedy was encapsulated by one person Omaira Sanchez a 13-year-old girl that was trapped in the debris unable to move and despite efforts she was to die three days later succumbing to her injuries.
Today Almero has a strange peace about it as you drive to the small road leading to the “Centro Historicó Parque de La Vida” you will meet several guides and people that will sell you drinks, or videos about the site. There is an enormous billboard next to the road showing pictures of some of the 600 children lost to Almero.
Driving from the main road to the “Centro Historicó Parque de La Vida” the size of the area starts to become clear, shops, house and other areas are indicated, most lost to the lahars, the deadly volcanic mudflows.
Stopping at the Parque de La Vida the monument commemorating this that lost their lives is beautifully designed. To the south of this area, you can either walk or drive to the large stone said to have been thrown from the volcano some 50 km away. It is big enough for over 20 people to stand on top of it and have their pictures taken.
The cemetery is not for the faint-hearted, it shows how this area has been left untouched apart from the unfortunate cases of grave robbers.
There is much more to be seen, such as the branch of Bancolombia which holds its own story, the shrine to Omaira Sanchez and many others that died during the tragedy.