Mexico on high alert for volcanic activity

Mexico on high alert for volcanic activity

Authorities declare state of alert after Popocatepetl volcano spews smoke and ash

By Jorge Antonio Rocha

MEXICO CITY (AA) - The Mexican government announced preventive measures Monday after the Popocatepetl volcano spewed smoke and ash over the weekend, including the deployment of troops and the preparation of civil security personnel, evacuation teams and shelters.

Due to the changes observed in the volcano, the National Center for Disaster Prevention issued a "Yellow Volcanic Alert Phase 3." The change in the alert does not entail evacuations for the moment, but it reflects the increased volcanic activity, which is potentially harmful to nearby inhabitants.

The Popocatepetl volcano lies on the borders of the states of Mexico, Puebla and Morelos.

As of Sunday, 573 explosions from the Popocatepetl volcano had been recorded, 70% of which were minor. However, authorities have said that mild to moderate explosions can be expected and have warned residents of falling fine ash from the volcano.

In addition, aircraft are affected due to the ash, causing the two international airports in Mexico City to cancel flights for the third day in a row. Airlines such as Aeromexico announced the cancellation of 46 flights on Monday.

Education authorities announced the suspension of classes in the states of Puebla and Tlaxcala, with 40 municipalities shutting down schools in the former.

At his morning press conference, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that the Ministry of Citizen Security and Protection has formed a commission to oversee the installation of shelters and the supervision of roads for rapid evacuations "if needed."

He also said that the Ministry of National Defense has deployed 7,275 troops, with the National Guard carrying out the Emergency Assistance Plan for Society, which seeks to provide shelter, food and security to those affected by the prevailing situation in the state.

The volcano remained active during the early hours of Monday morning, releasing gas, smoke and ash.

"Some people argue that when there are eruptions, it is more soothing than when it is quiet," said Lopez Obrador.

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