Ecuador declares state of emergency over volcano

A general view from Saquisili village, of an ashes column spewed by the Cotopaxi volcano in Pichincha province, Ecuador, 15 August 2015.

A general view from Saquisili village, of an ashes column spewed by the Cotopaxi volcano in Pichincha province, Ecuador, 15 August 2015.

Ecuador President Rafael Correa has declared a state of emergency over increasing activity at the Cotopaxi volcano near the capital, Quito

(SOURCE)   The declaration gives authorities more flexibility in using government funds to address the situation.

Officials evacuated several hundred people from nearby villages after the volcano began to erupt on Friday.

Cotopaxi is among the world’s most dangerous volcanoes and is prone to fast-moving rock and mud flows.

Evacuated inhabitants of Santa Rita town in Cotopaxi province look on at the rumbling volcano on Saturday

Evacuated inhabitants of Santa Rita town in Cotopaxi province look on at the rumbling volcano on Saturday.

Residents of El Pedregal village evacuate on Saturday after Cotopaxi volcano increased its activity

Residents of El Pedregal village evacuate on Saturday after Cotopaxi volcano increased its activity.

The Cotopaxi volcano spews ash and vapour in Ecuador, on 14 August, 2015

The Cotopaxi volcano spews ash and vapour in Ecuador, on 14 August, 2015.

Small eruptions have already shot ash more than 5km (three miles) into the sky, spreading fine grey powder over as far as the capital 50km (30 miles) to the north.

Authorities have restricted access to the park that surrounds the volcano and barred mountaineers from climbing the snow-capped peak.

Cotopaxi last had a major eruption in 1877.