Mexico's Colima volcano triggers evacuations

Media caption,
Footage shows ash and smoke pouring from the volcano's crater

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from villages around a volcano in western Mexico amid fears of a major eruption.

Ash from the Colima volcano is falling on local communities, and authorities have sealed off a 12km (7.5 mile) area. The local airport has also been closed.

Mexico's interior ministry said the volcano was showing signs similar to a major eruption in 1913.

Activity at the volcano began to intensify last Thursday.

Since then, explosions have been heard on its southern and south-western slopes and columns of ash have spewed 2.8km into the sky.

"The communities in this 12km radius are very small and don't exceed 800 inhabitants. They have all been evacuated," said civil protection co-ordinator Luis Felipe Puente.

The village of Yerbabuena, at the foot of the mountain, was said to be buried in up to 5cm (nearly two inches) of ash. Rain was making conditions worse.

The Colima volcano is also known in Mexico as the Volcano of Fire.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Police have sealed off the local area as ash fills the air
Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Emergency shelters have been set up for the evacuated residents

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