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Omayra Sanchez

Updated on February 20, 2013

Little Girl, Trapped In Natural Disaster (1985)

Omayra Sanchez was a 13 year old girl photographed while emergency disaster rescue workers and volunteers were waiting on equipment and supplies needed to free her from being trapped in water up to her neck after a volcano in her area erupted.

On November 13, 1985, in Armero, Colombia, the Nevado del Ruiz volcano (also known as "El Mesa de Herveo" or "Kumanday") erupted and also caused mudflows (lahars) and the flow of various debris and water in the area.

Omayra Sanchez got trapped in the lahars. She survived about 60 hours and succumbed to hypothermia and gangrene on her third evening of confinement - before rescue workers and volunteers had the necessary equipment to remove her from the water and debris she was trapped in.

Some equipment arrived a couple of hours before Omayra died, however, its arrival wasn't soon enough to get her removed from the water in time.

Omayra's father also died as a result of the volcanic explosion and aftermath, but her mother, Maria Aleida, and her brother, Alvaro Enrique survived.

The city of Armero was destroyed as a result of the volcanic eruption and no further residents there are in danger of harm from the still active Nevado del Ruiz volcano. There are no other cities close to the volcano.

Succumbed to Gangrene and Hypothermia, R.I.P. Omayra Sanchez

Omayra Sanchez did not survive the catastrophe of the Nevado del RUiz volcanic eruption, November 13, 1985, at Armero, Columbia.
Omayra Sanchez did not survive the catastrophe of the Nevado del RUiz volcanic eruption, November 13, 1985, at Armero, Columbia. | Source

Photo used for awareness campaigns

A photo of Omayra was used in the 80's and since the time of the volcanic eruption, for awareness campaigns to make people think more about government and community responsibilities during instances of natural disaster.

Colombian authorities have been heavily criticized for lack of speed and resources with which to deal with natural disasters in such cases as the Nevado del Ruiz volcano disaster. Many people feel that if authorities had acted to send out equipment, more emergency workers and had made an authorized public plea for more volunteers to aid the Nevado del Ruiz volcano disaster, lives like Omayra Sanchez's could have been saved.

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    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR

      mythbuster 

      5 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Thanks for catching the typos... corrected now.

    • profile image

      Embarrassing 

      5 years ago

      This happened in Armero, Colombia not Amero, Columbia. Please edit your articles properly as to not embarrass yourself.

    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR

      mythbuster 

      6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      I'm glad you found the hub useful, lol747

    • profile image

      lol747 

      6 years ago

      thanks soooooo much for the information MYTH BUSTER I managed to fill 2 pages of A4 in an hour with L0ADS of time to spare! I will definitely recommend this website to many who ask and many who don't!And again one last time THANKS SOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) ;)

    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR

      mythbuster 

      6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      I hope you do well on the exam, lol747. This topic brought tears to my eyes, too - when I was writing.

    • profile image

      lol747 

      6 years ago

      thanks for this info it was very helpful for next week on thursday i have an exam about ... omayra sanchez.

      hearing this definetly brings tears to my eyes

    • profile image

      blake4d 

      7 years ago

      KOH

      Blake4d

    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR

      mythbuster 

      7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Blake *mwah* I will head over to start catching up on the blogs!

    • profile image

      blake4d 

      7 years ago

      Great hub MB.

      Hi wanted to let you know that you have articles I reoposted on the 800

      Here are the days and articles:

      613, 611, 610, 609, 608, 607

      The sticks and stones, the three part R. Forest Ufo series, and the two part BEK series, ( except Ithink the videos are no longer on Utube)

      597, 596, 595

      Pareidolia, Q source, Nationalism

      Glad you are well. Blake4d

    • mariasial profile image

      maria sial 

      7 years ago from united kingdom

      obviously its quite tragic, it is an old story but natural disasters are increasing day by day and so as these tragic stories...

    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR

      mythbuster 

      7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Hey lorlie6! Thanks for the comment. This disaster happened over 20 years ago. Let's hope the region where this happened has better, more responsive emergency services now.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      It always disturbs me when governments are slow to respond to emergencies such as this. Tragic.

    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR

      mythbuster 

      7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Micky Dee, I think the criticisms surrounding how rescue operations for the Nevado del Ruiz volcano disaster were grossly insufficent may have helped, back in the 80's, to prompt many organizations to respond more quickly to emergencies for the future.

      Yikes was that sentence too long? lol

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for this very heart grabbing story. Seems like there would be a Universal SWAT Team for situations like this. Thank you.

    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR

      mythbuster 

      7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Truth be known, I felt awful about leaving the other hub as it was - without doing something to honour the memory of this little girl. THAT was sort of pitiful/unethical to use the photo without explanation. Hopefully I've provided enough info now so that people understand the photo.

      I think this is one of my shortest articles EVER - but as you say, Alastar Packer, not much more can be said...

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Yep, pitiful in every which way, that's about all you can say.

    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR

      mythbuster 

      7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      I felt I should clarify where the picture came from and about the severe event that caused the girl, Omayra Sanchez, to appear with her eyes so black - since I used the photo on my BEK hub and this created some concerns.

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      Tragic is all I can say,mythbuster.;)

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