Disasters & Accidents

Mexican authorities ready Popocatépetl volcano evacuation route

Puebla, Mexico, May 22 (EFE).- Mexico authorities on Monday readied an evacuation route away from Popocatépetl volcano due to its ongoing activity and heightened alert level.

The volcano is located in the states of Puebla, Morelos and Mexico, in the center of the country.

On Sunday, the state authorities announced the activation of the National Defense III emergency plan and suspended face-to-face school classes in 40 municipalities.

The traffic light alert was changed to yellow phase 3, which does not involve evacuation, but an alert for actions to follow in the event volcanic activity increases.

On Monday, route number two, between the municipalities of San Nicolás de la Ranchos, San Pedro Cholula and San Andrés Cholula in Puebla, was reviewed and readied by officials.

This route is one of the most important because six municipalities are located along its 35 kilometers, including Santiago Xalinzintla, closest to the crater of the volcano and where attention is being prioritized.

In addition to handing out face masks for residents to protect themselves from volcanic ash, authorities instructed residents about evacuation routes.

Since the weekend when the volcanic traffic light alert changed, strategic coordination points were set up where officers and vehicles from the army, National Guard, civil protection, and municipal and state police are stationed ready for an immediate response to any dangerous activity of “Don Goyo,” as the volcano is popularly known.

Laura Velázquez, head of the National Civil Protection Coordination (CNPC) assured that Puebla “is not alone, much less the inhabitants of the surrounding towns” as they are carrying out the pertinent actions to prevent damage and protect residents.

“It is determining very precise actions to safeguard the lives of all the inhabitants and of those states that are affected by the ash, which are particularly the states of Morelos, Tlaxcala, the state of Mexico and eventually Mexico City,” she said.

Diana Cuautle, a resident of Xalitzintla, told EFE she is afraid of the volcano’s activity, because “there are times when the floor shakes and the windows and doors vibrate.”

She said that she also fears evacuation “because the streets are very narrow within the community, which will make it difficult for private units to leave and those that come to help them.”

Guadalupe Pérez Tepexco, a resident of the same community, said that she takes refuge in St Santiago, patron saint of the community, as he “will take care of them until the last moment.”

The volcanic activity of Popocatépetl has not ceased in recent weeks, but between Friday night and Saturday morning it erupted, expelling incandescent material and causing ashfall.

This event caused flight operations in the Mexican capital to be affected for almost six hours. EFE


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