Living Ruins

The remains of some buildings still stand in Armero. They are covered in thick foliage and dense vegetation, nourished by rich volcanic soils. This flora, in turn, is home to thousands of birds and insects. This abundance of life is counterbalanced by reminders of death. For survivors, these ruins represent the state’s failure to adequately support or compensate victims.

Their claims are set out in the 2015 investigative documentary, Roots of Oblivion, which tells the troubled tale of recovery and reconstruction. Millions of dollars’ worth of international aid poured into Colombia after the eruption, but not all of it reached its intended beneficiaries. Resurgir, the governmental organization set up to aid disaster survivors, comes under particular criticism for inefficacy and corruption in managing these funds.

Another documentary made in 1986, Nacer de nuevo, records the neglect experienced in the immediate aftermath of the eruption.

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