On June 6, 1994 at 3:47 p.m. there was an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 on the Richter scale, whose focus was located at a depth below 10 km, with its epicenter in the vicinity of the site called Dublin in the top of the Paez River, municipality of the same name, the department of Cauca.
Their direct or indirect, affected 15 municipalities, 9 and 6 belonging to the Huila Cauca, whose length reaches 10,000 km2. The 94.76% were Cauca and Huila remaining at 5.24%.
The municipality of Páez, bathed in the river of the same name, was most affected by the earthquake and subsequent landslide damming, with a rate of 50% followed by the neighboring municipality of Inza, with 15% of involvement.
The estimates speak of 1,100 people killed, a figure considered to be relatively low in relation to the enormous proportions of landslides and avalanches that affected the Paez River basin. The number of families directly affected, according to the census of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca, CRIC, was 7,511 in the department of Cauca and 414 in Huila, which means that approximately 45,000 people were directly the influence of earthquake and flood. Instability of the soil in some areas inhabited by peasants and indigenous people, 1,600 families expelled from their lands, which had to be located in temporary settlements in both departments.
In environmental matters 40,000 hectares of land with its rich ecology and wildlife, most of them located in the jurisdiction of the Nevado del Huila National Park, were destroyed.
Socioeconomic and cultural characteristics of the affected area
The affected area is characterized by heterogeneous from the point of view of its population, resulting in a variety of social, world views, problems, needs, interests and conflicts that require institutional responses equally complex and diverse to support the recovery of the various affected communities trying to preserve their cultural identity, potential and strengths, and resolving their wants and needs.
Tierradentro, as known to the region is characterized by a predominantly indigenous territory in which they live Paez, Guambianos, Coconucos and Totoroes. But he mixed together in black and only 20% of the population speaks Páez language.
The region has historically been the epicenter of conflict and tension between indigenous ethnic groups, between Indians, blacks and mestizos, among Indians, farmers and settlers, between Catholics and Protestants and, more importantly, between indigenous and national civil authorities, which makes this area a very special territory for managing the various interests of the entities that are present in it.