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Ecuador declares state of emergency over Cotopaxi volcanic activity

By Andrew V. Pestano
Ecuador declares state of emergency over Cotopaxi volcanic activity
The snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador had small eruptions beginning Friday. A state of emergency was declared in the country on Sunday. File Photo by Ecuadorpostales/Shutterstock

QUITO, Ecuador, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- President of Ecuador Rafael Correa has declared a state of emergency due to increasing activity at the Cotopaxi volcano, known as one of the world's most dangerous.

Several hundred people have been evacuated from nearby villages as the volcano began erupting on Friday. Cotopaxi has a glacial cover, meaning it is prone to fast-moving rock and mud flows.

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Small eruptions caused hot ash to fly more than three miles into the sky, even reaching the capital city of Quito about 30 miles north.

The last major Cotopaxi eruption was in 1877, but a smaller one was registered in 1940. Access to the Cotopaxi National Park is restricted and entry to the peak is prohibited.

Sunday's declaration of a state of emergency gives officials more flexibility in using government funds in response to the volcano's activity.

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