Mexico issued a near-high alert following the eruption of the Popocatepetl volcano, putting the aviation industry and surrounding communities at risk.
The volcano alert has been raised to “yellow level three”, one notch below the highest red alert level. The move comes a day after two cities in the capital Mexico City had to close for fear of smoke, ash and molten rock rising from the mountain.
Smoke rises from the Popocatépetl crater in central Mexico on May 12. Photo: Reuters
A yellow alert means “continuous vigilance and preparation for a possible evacuation,” according to the warning system developed by Mexico’s National Center for Disaster Prevention.
Civil protection coordinator Laura Velazquez said raising the alert level also meant a greater risk of magma eruptions and that “large explosions of increasing intensity sent fragments of rock a considerable distance”.
Next step, red alert, trigger mandatory evacuation. A number of shelters have been set up in the areas around the crater.
Popocatépetl, located in central Mexico, is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because about 25 million people live around it within a radius of 100 km. The mountain, which has not had a major eruption in over a millennium, “woke up” in 1994 and has significantly increased in activity since then.
Vu Hoang (according to AFP)